College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Mood and Anxiety Disorders Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Prospective Study.

Document Type


Publication Date



Adaptation, Adolescent, Anxiety Disorders, Brain Injuries, Injury Severity Score, Mood Disorders, Risk Factors, Stress Disorders

Publication Title

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology








Studies utilizing standardized instruments for assessing mood and/or anxiety disorders following pediatric traumatic brain injury have seldom been reported in the literature. Previous reports have largely focused on cognitive impairment, behavioral dysfunction, or adaptive functioning, and have typically relied on parental informants. In this study, children hospitalized for mild (N = 42) and moderate/severe (N = 19) brain injury were assessed 6-months postinjury using the Anxiety disorders Module A and the Mood disorders Module C of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children - IV Revision (DISC-IV). The data collected for the brain injury groups were compared to an orthopedic control group (N = 35). The relationship between a new onset mood and/or anxiety disorder (NOD) and injury severity indices was examined. Sequential logistical regression was also utilized to examine the impact of a brain injury, demographic variables, preinjury psychiatric disturbance, development disorders, litigation status and postinjury environmental stress on emotional outcome. Results indicated a relationship between brain injury and NOD. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that postinjury level of stress and severity of brain injury were the most robust predictors of NOD, accounting for 23% of the variance in the model. These results support the premise that the development of a mood and/or anxiety disorder following pediatric head injury is mediated by multiple determinants. The findings suggest that early psychosocial assessment and interventions aimed at increasing a child's coping may attenuate the emotional consequences of pediatric brain injury.