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J Neurotrauma. 2014 Jul 15;31(14):1305-12. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3275. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Sleep problems and their relationship to cognitive and behavioral outcomes in young children with traumatic brain injury.

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1 Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University , Providence, Rhode Island.


This study examined the effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in young children on sleep problems and the relationship of sleep problems to neuropsychological and psychosocial functioning. Participants were drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study of injury in young children recruited from 3 to 6 years of age. They constituted three groups: orthopedic injury (OI; n=92), complicated mild/moderate TBI (mTBI; n=55); and severe TBI (sTBI; n=20). Caregivers completed the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ), as well as ratings of behavioral adjustment, adaptive functioning, and everyday executive function at 1, 6, 12, and 18 months postinjury. Retrospective ratings of preinjury sleep and psychosocial functioning were obtained at the initial assessment. Children completed neuropsychological testing at all occasions. Children with complicated mTBI demonstrated more total sleep problems than children with OI at 6 months postinjury, but not at 12 or 18 months. Children with sTBI displayed more bedtime resistance and shorter sleep duration than those with complicated mTBI or OI at several occasions. Across groups, total sleep problems predicted more emotional and behavioral problems and worse everyday executive function as rated by parents across follow-up occasions. In contrast, sleep problems were generally not related to neuropsychological test performance. The results suggest that young children with TBI demonstrate more sleep problems than children with injuries not involving the head. Sleep problems, in turn, significantly increase the risk of poor psychosocial outcomes across time, but are not associated with worse neuropsychological test performance.


behavior; cognitive ability; preschool; sleep; traumatic brain injury

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