Ross, Kimberley Amanda
Friendship and psychosocial functioning in children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.
D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Objective: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children has previously been associated with theory of mind deficits and social problem solving difficulties; potentially interfering with psychosocial development and friendships. This study aimed to investigate if friendship quality, rates of loneliness and general psychosocial functioning are different in children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to non-injured controls. Design: A between subjects design with 14 participants in the TBI group and 14 in the non-injured control group, all aged between 7 and 13 years. The groups were matched for gender and were similar in age and socio-economic status. Methods: There were 5 outcome measures. Three were completed by children relating to receptive vocabulary (BPVS II), friendship quality (FQQ-R) and rates of loneliness (LSDS). Two were completed by the main caregiver measuring social skills deficits and social withdrawal (PIC-2) and general psychosocial and behavioural functioning (SDQ). Outcome and Results: The TBI group had more severe difficulties in hyperactivity (z = -3.5, p < 0.001) and emotional symptoms (z = -2.4, p< 0.05) than their non-injured peers. No significant differences were observed on measures of friendship quality; however, a larger percentage of the TBI group fell within the abnormal or borderline range in terms of peer problems. Conclusions: Whilst finding evidence of vulnerability in hyperactivity, emotional symptoms and conduct problems, evidence for friendship problems were not found in children following TBI. There is a need for prospective longitudinal research to explore the complex relationship between TBI and poorer social outcomes that are often apparent in adolescence.
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