Topical Review: Negative Behavioral and Cognitive Outcomes Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Early Childhood


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Abstract

Objective To summarize recent research on negative behavioral and cognitive outcomes following early childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods Topical review of the literature published since the year 2000 examining behavioral and cognitive difficulties following TBI in early childhood. Results Research findings from the reviewed studies demonstrate a variety of negative behavioral and cognitive outcomes following TBI in childhood, particularly for children <5 years of age. Negative outcomes include problems with externalizing behaviors, attention, language, and cognitive functioning (e.g., IQ, executive functioning). Furthermore, negative outcomes have been shown to persist up to 16 years following the injury. Conclusions The empirical studies reviewed demonstrate the increased risk for negative behavioral and cognitive outcomes following early childhood TBI. Furthermore, the review highlights current strengths and limitations of TBI research with young children and the need for multidisciplinary work examining outcomes for this vulnerable pediatric population.

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