Changes in Attention and Information-Processing Speed Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Meta-Analytic Review


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Abstract

Deficits in attention are frequently reported following severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, methodological differences make it difficult to reconcile inconsistencies in the research findings in order to undertake an evidence-based assessment of attention. The current study therefore undertook a meta-analytic review of research examining attention following severe TBI. A search of the PsycINFO and PubMed databases spanning the years 1980 to 2005 was undertaken with 24 search terms. Detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to screen all articles, leaving 41 studies that were included in the current meta-analysis. Weighted Cohen's d effect sizes, percentage overlap statistics, and confidence intervals were calculated for the different tests of attention. Fail-safe Ns were additionally calculated to address the bias introduced by the tendency to publish significant results. Large and significant deficits were found in specific measures of information-processing speed, attention span, focused/selective attention, sustained attention, and supervisory attentional control following severe TBI. Finally, age, education, and postinjury interval were not significantly related to these deficits in attention.

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