Outcome from mild head injury in young children: a prospective study

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2001 Dec;23(6):705-17. doi: 10.1076/jcen.23.6.705.1015.


There is a lack of agreement regarding the long-term consequences of mild head injury (HI) at any age, with such effects rarely studied in early childhood. Given the rapid development occurring within the brain during this period, any disruption may have the potential to cause transient or permanent damage to brain structure and function. The present study sought to investigate the behavioral implications of such potential disruptions using a prospective, longitudinal design. Children aged 3-7 years at the time of injury, and suffering from mild HI, were evaluated acutely and at 6 and 30 months post-injury. Pre-injury data were collected with respect to communication, social skills, daily living skills and behavioral function. Results were compared to those from a non-injured control sample matched for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and pre-injury function. Findings showed few group differences. Children with mild HI performed similarly to controls on measures of intellectual ability, receptive language, and both everyday and spatial memory capacity. Group differences were identified for verbal fluency and story recall, with HI children failing to recover over time.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Language
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Adjustment