Social problem-solving and social adjustment in paediatric traumatic brain injury.

Moran LM, Bigler E, Dennis M, Gerhardt CA, Rubin KH, Stancin T, Taylor HG, Vannatta KA, Yeates KO
Brain Inj 29 1682-90 01/01/2015


OBJECTIVE: Little is known regarding the predictors of social deficits that occur following childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). The current study sought to investigate social problem solving (SPS) and its relationship to social adjustment after TBI.

METHODS: Participants included 8-13 year old children, 25 with severe TBI, 57 with complicated mild-to-moderate TBI and 61 with orthopaedic injuries (OI). Children responded to scenarios involving negative social situations by selecting from a fixed set of choices their causal attribution for the event, their emotional reaction to the event and how they would behave in response. Parent ratings of social behaviours and classmate friendship nominations and sociometric ratings were obtained for a sub-set of all participants.

RESULTS: Children with severe TBI were less likely than children with OI to indicate they would attribute external blame or respond by avoiding the antagonist; they were more likely to indicate they would feel sad and request adult intervention. Although several SPS variables had indirect effects on the relationship between TBI and social adjustment, clinical significance was limited.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that, while children with TBI display atypical SPS skills, SPS cannot be used in isolation to accurately predict social adjustment.

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