Predictors of child post-concussion symptoms at 6 and 18 months following mild traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2013;27(2):145-57. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2012.729286.


Background: A proportion of children will experience persistent post-concussion symptoms (PCS) following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). As persistent PCS may be maintained by pathological and psychological factors, this study aimed to describe and evaluate potential pre- and post-injury parent and child predictors of persistent PCS.

Methods: A total of 150 children with mTBI and their parents participated. Parents completed measures of their own distress and children's PCS and health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) at baseline (reflecting pre-injury function). These measures, as well as measures of children's distress and cognitive function were administered at 6 and 18 months post-injury.

Results: Children's PCS at 6 months post-injury were predicted by both pre-injury parent distress and children's pre-injury PCS. At 18 months post-injury, children's PCS were predicted by higher levels of parent distress and child PCS at 6 months post-injury, as well as poorer post-injury cognitive functioning. Change in PCS between 6-18 months post-injury was predicted by parent's pre-injury anxiety and children's HRQoL.

Conclusions: Children at risk of persistent PCS can be identified by higher levels of pre- and post-injury PCS, parent distress and poorer post-injury cognition. These factors should be addressed by interventions aimed at minimizing the occurrence and impact of child PCS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors