Mild head injury in children and adolescents: a review of studies (1970-1995)

Psychol Bull. 1997 Sep;122(2):107-31. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.122.2.107.


In this article, the authors provide a comprehensive review of the research of mild head injury in children and adolescents from 1970 to 1995. Because of marked variability in methodologies across studies, a preliminary box-score tally was computed, without regard to studies' scientific or methodological merit. These results revealed 13 adverse, 18 null, and 9 indeterminate findings related to neuropsychological, academic, or psychosocial outcome. When studies were classified based on methodological merit, the stronger studies were generally associated with null outcomes across domains. However, a few of the less stronger neuropsychological studies (5 of 40) reported subthreshold and transitory alterations during the early postinjury period. At the present time, cautious acceptance of the null hypothesis is recommended until more definitive studies are conducted that address the problems raised in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology*
  • Child
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis
  • Head Injuries, Closed / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Social Adjustment