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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2015 Mar-Apr;30(2):E24-31. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000040.

Right frontal pole cortical thickness and social competence in children with chronic traumatic brain injury: cognitive proficiency as a mediator.

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Department of Psychology (Messrs Levan and Black and Drs Kirwan, and Gale) and The Neuroscience Center (Drs Kirwan and Gale), Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Department of Neuroimaging, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona (Dr Baxter).



To examine the association between right frontal pole cortical thickness, social competence, and cognitive proficiency in children participants with a history of chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Twenty-three children (65% male; M age = 12.8 years, SD = 2.3 years) at least 1 year post-injury (M = 3.3 years, SD = 1.7 years) were evaluated with the Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI) from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th Edition, and their caregiver completed the Child Behavior Checklist. Social competence was evaluated with the Social Competence and Social Problems subscales from the Child Behavior Checklist. Right frontal pole cortical thickness was calculated via FreeSurfer from high-resolution 3-dimensional T1 magnetic resonance imaging scans.


Direct effect of right frontal pole cortical thickness on social competence was significant (β = 14.09, SE = 4.6, P < .01). Right frontal pole cortical thickness significantly predicted CPI (β = 18.44, SE = 4.9, P < .05), and CPI significantly predicted social competence (β = 0.503, SE = 0.17, P < .01). Findings were consistent with the hypothesized mediation model.


The association between right frontal lobe cortical integrity and social competence in pediatric participants with chronic TBI may be mediated through cognitive proficiency.

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