Friendship quality and psychosocial outcomes among children with traumatic brain injury.

Heverly-Fitt S, Wimsatt MA, Menzer MM, Rubin KH, Dennis M, Taylor HG, Stancin T, Gerhardt CA, Vannatta K, Bigler ED, Yeates KO
J Int Neuropsychol Soc 20 684-93 08/01/2014

Abstract

This study examined differences in friendship quality between children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and orthopedic injury (OI) and behavioral outcomes for children from both groups. Participants were 41 children with TBI and 43 children with OI (M age=10.4). Data were collected using peer- and teacher-reported measures of participants' social adjustment and parent-reported measures of children's post-injury behaviors. Participants and their mutually nominated best friends also completed a measure of the quality of their friendships. Children with TBI reported significantly more support and satisfaction in their friendships than children with OI. Children with TBI and their mutual best friend were more similar in their reports of friendship quality compared to children with OI and their mutual best friends. Additionally, for children with TBI who were rejected by peers, friendship support buffered against maladaptive psychosocial outcomes, and predicted skills related to social competence. Friendship satisfaction was related to higher teacher ratings of social skills for the TBI group only. Positive and supportive friendships play an important role for children with TBI, especially for those not accepted by peers. Such friendships may protect children with TBI who are rejected against maladaptive psychosocial outcomes, and promote skills related to social competence.

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