Abstract

Objective: Social cognition comprises skills required to accurately interpret the feelings and thoughts of others. These abilities are crucial for adaptive functioning and are often impaired in children with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Little longitudinal data examines improvement in social cognition following TBI. Therefore, the current study examined this matter. Method: Participants included 24 children who had sustained a TBI (age = 15.9 years, 62.5% male, 62.5% Caucasian, 8.3% African American, 16.7% Hispanic). Average Glasgow Coma Scale score for these children was 6.3. The Adolescent Test of Problem Solving-2nd Edition (ATOPS-2) was used to evaluate social problem solving on intake into a day hospital treatment program (60.7 days after injury), and then again 27.5 days later. Results: ATOPS-2 subscale scores were examined from the two assessments using a repeated measures analysis of variance, which included each of the ATOPS-2 subscale scores as one factor and time as another. Results indicated significant effects for time (p < .001), but not for ATOPS-2 subscale or for the subscale by time interaction effect. Conclusion(s): Results of the current study suggest significant improvement with the passage of time for children who have sustained a TBI on a number of social problem solving abilities. There was no evidence for differential improvement of specific social cognitive abilities as measured by the ATOPS-2. It may be that with a larger sample size, such differences may have been noted. The general finding of the current study is that social cognition can improve in adolescents with TBI after undergoing treatment in a day hospital program.