Adult functioning of mothers with traumatic brain injury at high risk of child abuse: a pilot study

Cora van Vliet-Ruissen, Audrey McKinlay, Annabel Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: There is little information regarding the impact that traumatic brain injury (TBI) has on the functioning of mothers at risk of child abuse. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated adult functioning (e.g. child abuse, substance use, criminal convictions, and mental health problems) of mothers, at high risk for child abuse, who also had a history of TBI compared with those without TBI. It was hypothesised that mothers with a history of TBI would engage in higher rates of dysfunctional behaviour compared to those with no history of TBI. METHOD: Participants were 206 women engaged in a child abuse prevention programme for mothers who are highly socially disadvantaged, and at high risk for child abuse. Using historical data collected as part of the referral, and self report intake process, this study compared child abuse, mental health problems (depression, anxiety, substance use) and rates of criminal offending for mothers with a history of TBI versus those with no history of TBI. RESULTS: Mothers with TBI were no more likely than those without TBI to have engaged in child abuse. However, mothers with a history of TBI were significantly more likely to have one or more mental health problems, engage in substance use and have a history of criminal offending. CONCLUSIONS: Parents with TBI who have been identified as high risk for engaging in child abuse have increased risk for mental health problems and criminal offending. These issues need to be considered when designing parenting programmes in order for intervention strategies to be effective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373 - 380
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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