Research Reports - Predictors of long-term victimization after early pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2017 Jan;38(1):49-57. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000366.

Hung AH(1), Cassedy A, Schultz HM, Yeates KO, Taylor HG, Stancin T, Walz NC, Wade
SL.


OBJECTIVE: Pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) adversely affect long-term
functional and social outcomes. Limited research suggests children with TBI are
more likely to be victimized by peers than noninjured children. Deficits in
social information processing (SIP), cognitive ability, and executive functioning
(EF) may contribute to increased victimization risk. This study examined rates of
peer victimization/bullying in children with early TBI compared with children
with orthopedic injuries (OIs) and the role of processing speed, executive
function (EF), and SIP as mediators of the association of TBI and peer
victimization.
METHOD: Children ages 10 to 14 years who sustained a complicated mild/moderate or
severe TBI (N = 58) or OI (N = 72) during early childhood (ages 3-7 yr) and their
parents participated in a longitudinal prospective follow-up 6.8 years
postinjury. SIP, EF and processing speed, and peer victimization were assessed.
RESULTS: Parents of children with severe TBI reported greater rates of peer
victimization than parents of children with OIs. Children with severe TBI
demonstrated greater EF deficits than children with complicated mild/moderate TBI
or OI and poorer processing speed than children with OI. No significant indirect
relationships were found between groups and any outcome variables to indicate
mediation.
CONCLUSION: Based on parent report, children with severe TBI have higher risk of
peer victimization than those with less severe injuries. In addition, children
with severe TBI have more impaired EF and cognitive ability than counterparts
with less severe TBI. Further research is needed to explore predictors of
long-term victimization after early TBI to create interventions aimed at
providing social, emotional, and behavioral skill building for victimized youth. 

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