Adult outcomes of childhood traumatic brain injury

Status: Current

Māori Relevant Content: Yes


  • Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (Cas Van der Veer Parkinsons Disease Research Grant)
  • Lottery Grants Board (Lottery Environment & Heritage)

Project Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) accounts for over 3% of all hospital admissions and costs around $100 million a year for post-acute treatment and rehabilitation. TBI is a leading cause of disability and death among children. Further, children who experience a TBI are at increased risk for a number of cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder (CD) and learning difficulties. However, there is little information regarding the long-term outcomes of childhood TBI. Indeed, there remains a general expectation that due to brain plasticity children will make a full recovery. Unfortunately, this expectation is frequently incorrect.  This research examines the outcomes in adulthood of childhood TBI, and the role of social and environmental factors on these outcomes. Findings of this research will have valuable implications for targeting interventions to minimise any problems in adulthood.

This study aims to:
1) describe the cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes in adulthood of individuals who experienced a TBI in childhood;
2) examine the extent to which these outcomes can be explained by (a) severity of injury, (b) child and family characteristics;
3) describe protective factors that are associated with a good outcome following a TBI event in childhood; and
4) develop possible intervention strategies based on the information gained by this research.

Associated Projects

Researchers - UC Staff

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • David Fergusson: Associate Investigator; Christchurch Health and Develolpoment Study; University of Otago, Christchurch
  • John Horwood: Associate Investigator; Christchurch Health and Develolpoment Study; University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Martin MacFarlane: Associate Investigator; Department of Neurosurgery, Christchurch Hospital
  • Derek Roger: Associate Investigator; University of Canterbury

Subject Area: Disciplines