Primary objective: To examine the relationship between behavioural problems and school performance following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Subjects: 67 school-age children with TBI (35 mild, 13 moderate, 19 severe) and 14 uninjured matched controls. Parents and children were interviewed at a mean of 2 years post-TBI. Teachers reported on academic performance and educational needs. Children were assessed using the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS) and the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III).
Main outcomes and results: Two-thirds of children with TBI exhibited significant behavioural problems, significantly more than controls (p = 0.02). Children with behavioural problems had a mean IQ aproximately 15 points lower than those without (p = 0.001, 95% CI: 7-26.7). At school, 76%(19) of children with behavioural problems also had difficulties with schoolwork. Behavioural problems were associated with social deprivation and parental marital status (p < or = 0.01).
Conclusions: Children with TBI are at risk of developing behavioural problems which may affect school performance. Children with TBI should be screened to identify significant behavioural problems before they return to school.