Psychosocial consequences of mild traumatic brain injury in children: results of a systematic review by the International Collaboration on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Prognosis

Michelle L Keightley, Pierre Côté, Peter Rumney, Ryan Hung, Linda J Carroll, Carol Cancelliere, John David Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To synthesize the best available evidence regarding psychosocial consequences of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) in children.

DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus were searched (2001-2012). Inclusion criteria included published peer-reviewed reports in English, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and Danish. References were also identified from relevant reviews and meta-analyses, and the bibliographies of eligible articles.

STUDY SELECTION: This article presents an update of a previous review with a much larger scope, of which this topic is a small subset of the questions addressed by that review. Controlled trials and cohort and case-control studies were selected according to predefined criteria. Two independent reviewers used modified Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network criteria to critically appraise eligible studies. A total of 77,914 records were screened; 101 of these articles were deemed scientifically admissible, of which 6 investigated the psychosocial consequences of MTBI in children.

DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently extracted data from accepted studies into evidence tables.

DATA SYNTHESIS: We conducted a best-evidence synthesis by linking our conclusions to the evidence tables. Most accepted studies were exploratory rather than confirmatory. Preliminary evidence suggests that most children recover within 3 months post-MTBI. After 1 year, the prevalence of postconcussion symptoms and syndrome is similar between children with MTBI and children with orthopedic injuries. The functional status of children with MTBI improves over a 30-month follow-up period, but further research is needed to investigate the possibility that children with MTBI experience greater rates of psychiatric illness during the 3 years after their injury.

CONCLUSIONS: The prognosis of MTBI is favorable in children. Most appear to recover functionally from a physical and psychological perspective. However, future research should investigate the risk for psychiatric illness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3 Suppl
Pages (from-to)S192-S200
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Brain Injuries
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders
  • Mental Health Services
  • Pediatrics
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Prognosis
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Psychological outcomes
  • Recovery of function
  • Brain injuries
  • Rehabilitation
  • Craniocerebral trauma
  • Pediatric


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