Research Reports - Parent psychological functioning and communication predict externalizing behavior problems after pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Pediatr Psychol. 2014 Jan;39(1):84-95

Raj SP, Wade SL, Cassedy A, Taylor HG, Stancin T, Brown TM, Kirkwood MW

OBJECTIVE: Adolescents sustaining traumatic brain injury (TBI) show increased
prevalence of behavior problems. This study investigated the associations of
parent mental health, family functioning, and parent-adolescent interaction with
adolescent externalizing behavior problems in the initial months after TBI, and
examined whether injury severity moderated these associations.
METHODS: 117 parent-adolescent dyads completed measures of family functioning,
adolescent behavior, and parent mental health an average of 108 days post-TBI.
Dyads also engaged in a 10-min video-recorded problem-solving activity coded for
parent behavior and tone of interaction.
RESULTS: Overall, higher ratings of effective parent communication were
associated with fewer externalizing behavior problems, whereas poorer caregiver
psychological functioning was associated with greater adolescent externalizing
behaviors. Results failed to reveal moderating effects of TBI severity on the
relationship between socio-environmental factors and behavior problems.
CONCLUSIONS: Interventions targeting parent communication and/or improving
caregiver psychological health may ameliorate potential externalizing behavior
problems after adolescent TBI.

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