Research Reports - Peer relationships of children with traumatic brain injury

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jan 23:1-10

Yeates KO, Gerhardt CA, Bigler ED, Abildskov T, Dennis M, Rubin KH, Stancin T, Taylor HG, Vannatta K

This study examined peer relationships in children with traumatic brain injury
(TBI) relative to children with orthopedic injuries (OI), and explored whether
differences in peer relationships correlated with white matter volumes. Classroom
procedures were used to elicit peer perceptions of social behavior, acceptance,
and friendships for eighty-seven 8- to 13-year-old children, 15 with severe TBI,
40 with complicated mild/moderate TBI, and 32 with OI. Magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) were used to investigate volumetric
correlates of peer relationship measures. Children with severe TBI were rated
higher in rejection-victimization than children with OI, and were less likely
than children with OI to have a mutual friendship in their classroom (47% vs.
88%). Children with TBI without a mutual friend were rated lower than those with
a mutual friend on sociability-popularity and prosocial behavior and higher on
rejection-victimization, and had lower peer acceptance ratings. Mutual friendship
ratings were related to white matter volumes in several posterior brain regions,
but not to overall brain atrophy. Severe TBI in children is associated with
detrimental peer relationships that are related to focal volumetric reductions in
white matter within regions of the brain involved in social
information-processing.

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