Research Reports - Cognitive predictors of academic achievement in young children 1 year after traumatic brain injury

Neuropsychology. 2012 May;26(3):314-22

Fulton JB, Yeates KO, Taylor HG, Walz NC, Wade SL.

Objective: To examine cognitive predictors of academic achievement in young
children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and orthopedic injury (OI) shortly
after injury and 1 year postinjury. Methods: Participants included 3- to
6-year-old children, 63 with TBI (46 with moderate TBI and 17 with severe TBI)
and a comparison group of 80 children with OI. Academic achievement was assessed
approximately 1 and 12 months postinjury using three subtests from the
Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-Third Edition and the School Readiness
Composite from the Bracken Basic Concepts Scale-Revised. General intellectual
functioning, memory, and executive functions were measured at the initial
assessment using standardized tests. Results: Hierarchical linear regression was
used to predict academic achievement at the initial and 1-year follow-up
assessments. Memory and executive functions were significant predictors of
academic achievement at both assessments after controlling for group membership
and demographic variables. Executive function remained a significant predictor of
some outcomes after taking general intellectual functioning into account.
Predictive relationships did not vary across the TBI and OI groups. Similar
results were obtained when regression analyses were completed with only TBI
participants using the Glasgow Coma Scale score as a predictor, although memory
and executive functioning were somewhat less robust in predicting academic
achievement than before. Conclusion: Memory and executive function predict
academic achievement after TBI in preschool children, although some of the
associations may be accounted for by general intellectual functioning.

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