Childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common, acquired disability, which has significant implications for subsequent development, and for later quality of life. To date few studies have documented outcomes in these children into adolescence, when academic, social and personal demands increase. The objective of this study was to document functional outcomes at 10 years post-injury, and to identify predictors of outcome including injury, socio-demographic and pre-injury characteristics. The study employed consecutive recruitment to a prospective, longitudinal study. Children with a diagnosis of TBI between 2 and 12 years were initially recruited and divided according to injury severity (mild, moderate, severe). The sample was reviewed at 10 years post-injury and intellectual, adaptive, executive and social domains were investigated. Results indicated that, at 10 years post child TBI, survivors' functional abilities fell overall within the low average to average range regardless of injury severity, suggesting no extreme impairments at a group level for any of the domains under investigation. Significant group differences were identified, though, for adaptive abilities and for speed of processing, with more severe injury associated with poorer performances in each instance. Further, a similar trend was identified for measures of intellectual ability and executive functions. Individual rates of impairment were considerably higher than population expectations across all severity groups for these domains. Although rates of social impairment were also elevated, they were less related to injury factors, suggesting that cognitive/adaptive outcomes and social consequences of TBI may have different bases.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.