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J Neurotrauma. 2012 Mar 1;29(4):621-8. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2234. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

The essential role of psychosocial risk and protective factors in pediatric traumatic brain injury research.

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Department of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Kennedy Krieger Research Institute, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


This article builds upon Traumatic Brain Injury Common Data Elements (TBI CDE) version 1.0 and the pediatric CDE Initiative by emphasizing the essential role of psychosocial risk and protective factors in pediatric TBI research. The goals are to provide a compelling rationale for including psychosocial risk and protective factors in addition to socioeconomic status (SES), age, and sex in the study design and analyses of pediatric TBI research and to describe recommendations for core common data elements in this domain. Risk and protective factor research is based on the ecological theory of child development in which children develop through a series of interactions with their immediate and more distant environments. Home, school, religious, and social influences are conceptualized as risk and/or protective factors. Child development and TBI researchers have interpreted risk and protective variables as main effects or as interactions and have used cumulative risk indices and moderation models to describe the relationship among these variables and outcomes that have to do with development and with recovery from TBI. It is likely that the number, type, and interaction among risk and protective factors each contribute unique variance to study outcomes. Longitudinal designs in TBI research will be essential to understanding the reciprocal relationships between risk/protective factors and the recovery/outcome made by the child. The search for effective interventions to hasten TBI recovery mandates the need to target modifiable risks and to promote protective factors in the child's environment.

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