Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents in the first six months after traumatic brain injury

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Winter 2011;23(1):29-39. doi: 10.1176/jnp.23.1.jnp29.

Abstract

The study's objective was to assess the nature, rate, predictive factors, and neuroimaging correlates of novel (new-onset) definite anxiety disorders and novel definite/subclinical anxiety disorders (in a broader group of children with at least subclinical anxiety disorders) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Children with TBI from consecutive admissions to five trauma centers were enrolled and studied with psychiatric interviews soon after injury (baseline) and again 6 months post-injury. Novel definite anxiety disorder and novel definite/subclinical anxiety disorders were heterogeneous and occurred in 8.5% (N=12) and 17% (N=24) of participants, respectively, in the first 6 months after injury. Novel definite anxiety disorder was significantly associated with younger age at injury and tended to be associated with novel depressive disorder, as well as lesions of the superior frontal gyrus. Novel definite/subclinical anxiety disorder was significantly associated with concurrent psychiatric problems of personality change due to TBI and novel definite/subclinical depressive disorder, as well as with lesions of the superior frontal gyrus and a trend-association with frontal lobe white-matter lesions. These findings suggest that anxiety after childhood TBI may be part of a broader problem of affective dysregulation related to damaged dorsal frontal lobe and frontal white-matter systems, with younger children being at greatest risk for developing novel anxiety disorder after TBI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors