Cognitive recovery and development after traumatic brain injury in childhood: A person-oriented, longitudinal study

Catherine Aaro Jonsson, Cathy Catroppa, Celia Godfrey, Ann Charlotte Smedler, Vicki Anderson

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Influence of childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI) on cognitive recovery and subsequent development is poorly understood. In this longitudinal study we used cluster analysis to explore acute stage individual profiles of injury age and cognition in 118 children with traumatic brain injury. Repeated measures of cognitive function were conducted at 30 months, indicating recovery, and 10 years post-injury, indicating development. Nine clusters were identified. Recovery was evident in three clusters, two of them with low functioning profiles. Developmental gains occurred for three clusters and an acute profile of higher freedom from distractibility (FFD) and lower processing speed (PS) was related to positive differences. One cluster, average low functioning and especially low verbal comprehension, demonstrated a slower development than peers. This suggests that developmental change after TBI in childhood takes place on a continuum, with both chance of long-term catching up, and risk of poor development. An acute profile of higher FFD and lower PS seemed to reflect injury consequences and were followed by developmental gains. These results challenge previous findings, and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • childhood
  • cluster analysis
  • cognition
  • follow-up studies
  • TBI

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