Attentional skills 10 years post-paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Brain Inj. 2011;25(9):858-69. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2011.589794. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Objective: To date no study has reported findings regarding attentional deficits following pre-school paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI), as long as 10 years post-injury. It was predicted that more severe TBI would be associated with generalized deficits at 10 years post-TBI, particularly for skills not mastered at time of injury.

Research design: The sample comprised 40 prospectively-recruited children (42% of the original sample) who had sustained a mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) between the ages of 1-7 years and 19 non-injured control participants. Children were assessed 10 years post-TBI, with a focus on measures of attentional ability.

Outcomes/results: While attentional deficits were not evident across all components of attentional ability, both early- and later-established attention skills were compromised, particularly following severe TBI. Environmental predictors were generally not successful predictors of attentional outcome at 10 years post-TBI. Age at injury and acute IQ were identified as contributing to attention at 10 years.

Conclusions/implications: The present study shows that attentional deficits do occur and persist to 10 years following serious TBI. Clinicians may be able to screen for such deficits and so intervene in order to prevent or lessen the consequences of such difficulties.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors