Goal-oriented attentional self-regulation training in individuals with acquired brain injury in a subacute phase: a pilot feasibility study

Int J Rehabil Res. 2020 Mar;43(1):28-36. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000380.


The primary aim of this prospective pilot study was to assess feasibility of implementing goal-oriented attentional self-regulation (GOALS) training in Slovenia with patients with multiple cognitive deficits after acquired brain injury in acute phase of recovery. Seven patients with acquired brain injury (i.e. stroke, traumatic brain injury, and subarachnoid hemorrhage) with a mean postinjury time of 4.3 months (SD = 1.25) and mean age of 34.5 years (SD = 18.6) were recruited for the study. The group program consisted of 10 sessions twice a week and included cognitive strategy training, social skills training, and psychoeducation. Structured interviews and neuropsychological tests were used before and after the training to determine the influence of the interventions on daily life tasks and attentional networks performance involving cognitive and behavioral domains. GOALS influenced self-reports of positive effect on the individual goals set by the patients. Training had a positive influence on executive control and memory. The results from the present study suggest that it is feasible to implement GOALS manualized executive function training in Slovenia, with the patients in a somewhat more acute stage than in previous studies, and that GOALS training may be a promising nonpharmacological treatment for cognitive and behavioral difficulties after acquired brain injury. Further research is needed to extend these findings in a larger sample.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self-Control*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / rehabilitation*
  • Young Adult