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J Neurotrauma. 2014 May 15;31(10):899-905. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3226.

Agreement on and predictors of long-term psychosocial development 16 years post-childhood traumatic brain injury.

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  • 11 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute , Melbourne, Australia .


Childhood traumatic brain injury (CTBI) is one of the most common causes of childhood mortality and morbidity, with psychosocial impairment being among the most debilitating persisting consequences. Child and adolescent survivors of CTBI have fewer friends and lower self-esteem with a higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. In most research to date, findings in the psychosocial domain have been based on parent reports, with the child or adolescent only consulted infrequently. If there is a discrepancy identified between parent and child reported symptoms and behaviors, this is generally interpreted as resulting from impaired self-awareness in the child. The aim of this study was to 1) examine the agreement between self- and proxy-reported long-term psychosocial outcomes and 2) investigate the predictors of outcome 16 years post-CTBI. Thirty-three young adults (mean, 21.36 years; standard deviation, 2.75), with a CTBI sustained between 1 and 7 years of age, and a significant other completed questionnaires assessing the young adults' social and psychological functioning. Young adults and their significant other had good-to-excellent agreement on communication as well as alcohol and drug use scales. There was poorer agreement for the overall internalizing symptoms, anxious/depressed, withdrawn, thought, and rule-breaking behaviors. On the scales with poor agreement, there was no consistent contribution identified for any injury or preinjury factors. Preinjury adaptive behavior partly predicted withdrawn and overall internalizing symptoms, with a trend to also partly predict anxious/depressed and rule-breaking behavior reported by the significant other. Because young adults and significant others had poor agreement on the less-overt symptoms, these young adults may be at a higher risk of developing more-severe symptoms or disorders if it is not identified in time.

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