Outcomes and Recovery of Social Problems after Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Child in Hospital Bed

Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral impairments in the long term. Social impairment after the TBI is often a significant consequence, as childhood is a vital window for acquiring social skills and maintaining healthy peer relationships.

A recent study found that long-term social and behavioral problems in children with TBI are associated with injury severity and may take years to emerge. Children with severe TBI showed a significant increase in social problems from 12 to 24 months after the injury and had significantly more social and behavioral impairment than children with mild TBI or healthy peers. In contrast, children with mild and moderate TBI showed fewer social and behavioral problems at the 12- and 24-month mark.

The mental health and functioning of family members explained some of the variation in the recovery of children with severe TBI, suggesting that a healthy home environment is critical for their long-term rehabilitation.


Ryan NP, van Bijnen L, Catroppa C, et al. Longitudinal outcome and recovery of social problems after pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI): Contribution of brain insult and family environment. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. (March 2016.)

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