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Parent and teacher-reported child outcomes seven years after mild traumatic brain Injury: A nested case control study

Background: Increasing evidence suggests potential lifetime effects following mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in childhood. Few studies have examined medium-term outcomes among hospitalized and non-hospitalized samples. Study aims were to describe children's behavioral and emotional adjustment, executive function (EF), quality of life, and participation at 7-years following mild TBI using parents' and teachers' reports. Methods: Nested case control study of 86 children (68% male, mean age at assessment = 11.27 years; range 7–17 years) who sustained a mild TBI 7-years previously, identified from a prospective, population-based study. They were compared to 69 children free from TBI (61% male, mean age at assessment = 11.12 years; range 5–17 years). In addition to parent-reported socio-demographic details, parents (mild TBI n = 86, non-TBI n = 69) completed age-appropriate standardized questionnaires about children's health-related quality of life, behavioral and emotional adjustment, EF, and social participation. Parents own mood was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Teachers (mild TBI n = 53, non-TBI n = 42) completed questionnaires about children's behavioral and emotional adjustment, and EF. Results: Parent reports showed median group-level scores for cases were statistically significantly greater than controls for emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, total behavioral difficulties, inhibitory control, shifting, planning/organizing, and Global Executive Composite (total) EF difficulties (p-values 0.001–0.029). Parent reports of child quality of life and social participation were similar, as were teacher reports of child behavioral and emotional adjustment, and EF (p > 0.05). When examining clinical cut-offs, compared to controls, cases had a higher risk of parent-reported total EF difficulties (odds ratio = 3.00) and, to a lesser extent, total behavior problems (odds ratio = 2.51). Conclusions: As a group, children with a history of mild TBI may be at elevated risk for clinically significant everyday EF difficulties in the medium-term compared to non-TBI controls, as judged by their parents. Further multi-informant longitudinal research is required, following larger samples. Aspects requiring particular attention include pre-injury characteristics, such as sleep disturbances and comorbidities (e.g., headaches), that may act as potential confounders influencing the association between mild TBI and child behavioral problems.
Journal Article
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Jones, K. M., Starkey, N. J., Barker-Collo, S., Ameratunga, S., Theadom, A., Pocock, K., … Feigin, V. L. (2021). Parent and teacher-reported child outcomes seven years after mild traumatic brain Injury: A nested case control study. Frontiers in Neurology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.683661
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© 2021 Jones, Starkey, Barker-Collo, Ameratunga, Theadom, Pocock, Borotkanics and Feigin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.