This study aimed to extend the limited research investigating social and behavioral outcomes following childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). The study compared pre-and post-injury measures of these skills and investigated the role of pre-injury child status and pre-injury family functioning in the prediction of outcome at six months post-injury. A secondary aim was to compare rates of impairment at six months post-injury between children post-TBI and a typically developing (TD) control group. This study comprised 140 children, 97 survivors of TBI (67 males) and 43 TD children (24 males), matched for age, sex, and socio-economic status. All participants were ascertained between 2007 and 2010, and were between ages 5.5 and 15.0 years. Children with TBI represented consecutive hospital admissions and were recruited at time of injury into a longitudinal study. TD children were recruited from the community, through local schools chosen to provide a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Findings indicated a deterioration of social participation skills post-injury, particularly for those sustaining a more severe injury, and a consistently higher rate of impairment in social and behavioral outcomes in the TBI group. Pre-injury function, injury severity and restrictions to social participation (e.g., reduced sport activities) as recommended by clinicians contributed significantly to outcome. Difficulties are evident in the short-term post-childhood TBI in social and behavioral domains. It is essential to monitor children long-term, particularly as societal expectations and demands increase.
- traumatic brain injury