Cognitive and behavioral outcome following mild traumatic head injury in children

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 1999 Aug;14(4):360-72. doi: 10.1097/00001199-199908000-00005.


Objectives: To investigate outcome in children with mild traumatic head injury (THI) at 1 week and 3 months postinjury and to identify factors associated with persisting problems.

Design: Postconcussional symptomatology, behavior ratings, and neuropsychological test performance were examined at 1 week and 3 months postinjury.

Setting: Participants were recruited from successive presentations to emergency departments of two major hospitals.

Participants: 130 Children with mild THI were compared with 96 children having other minor injuries as controls.

Results: Children with mild THI experienced headaches, dizziness, and fatigue but exhibited no cognitive impairments, relative to controls, at 1 week postinjury. By 3 months, symptoms had resolved. However, 17% of children showed significant ongoing problems. They were more likely to have a history of previous head injury, learning difficulties, neurological or psychiatric problems, or family stressors.

Conclusions: Persisting problems following mild head injury in children are more common in those with previous head injury, preexisting learning difficulties, or neurological, psychiatric, or family problems. These "at-risk" children should be identified in the emergency department and monitored.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain Concussion / complications
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Diseases / complications
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / psychology
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Family Relations
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / complications
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors