Research Reports - Rejection sensitivity as a moderator of psychosocial outcomes following pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2017 Jul;23(6):451-459. doi: 10.1017/S1355617717000352.
Epub 2017 May 17.

Meadows EA(1), Owen Yeates K(2), Rubin KH(3), Taylor HG(4), Bigler ED(5), Dennis
M(6), Gerhardt CA(1), Vannatta K(1), Stancin T(7), Hoskinson KR(1).

OBJECTIVES: The current study examines whether psychosocial outcomes following
pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) vary as a function of children's rejection
sensitivity (RS), defined as their disposition to be hypersensitive to cues of
rejection from peers.
METHODS: Children ages 8-13 with a history of severe TBI (STBI, n=16),
complicated mild/moderate TBI (n=35), or orthopedic injury (OI, n=49) completed
measures assessing self-esteem and RS on average 3.28 years post-injury (SD=1.33,
range=1.25-6.34). Parents reported on their child's emotional and behavioral
functioning and social participation.
RESULTS: Regression analyses found moderation of group differences by RS for
three outcomes: social participation, self-perceptions of social acceptance, and
externalizing behavior problems. Conditional effects at varying levels of RS
indicated that externalizing problems and social participation were significantly
worse for children with STBI at high levels of RS, compared to children with OI.
Social participation for the STBI group remained significantly lower than the OI
group at mean levels of RS, but not at low levels of RS. At high levels of RS,
self-perceptions of social acceptance were lower for children with moderate TBI
compared to OI, but group differences were not significant at mean or low levels
of RS. No evidence of moderation was found for global self-worth,
self-perceptions of physical appearance or athletic ability, or internalizing
problems.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings highlight the salient nature of social outcomes in the
context of varying levels of RS. These findings may have implications for the
design of interventions to improve social outcomes following TBI.  

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