Objective: The goals of this study were to explore the prevalence of aggressive behaviours after severe paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and identify predictors of aggressive behaviours 1 year post-injury.
Methods: A cohort of 97 children aged 4-19 years at time of severe TBI (GCS 3-8) were prospectively followed for 1 year. Pre-injury psychiatric status was obtained retrospectively at enrolment and post-injury behavioural and functional concerns were assessed at 1 year. Aggression was measured with a modified version of the Overt Aggression Scale (OAS).
Results: Results revealed aggressive behaviour increased from pre-injury to post-injury. Pre-injury factors including aggression, attention problems and anxiety were associated with increased post-injury aggressive behaviour. Children with greater disability after injury were also at increased risk for aggressive behaviours.
Conclusions: Aggression is a prevalent symptom after paediatric TBI and can significantly impede rehabilitation. Awareness of these predictors can aid in early identification of children at risk in order to help appropriately design rehabilitation programmes.