New research reveals head injury in children has lasting impact

May 21, 2004

New research from the University of Warwick reveals that children with even mild head injury may be at risk of long-term complications, including personality changes, emotional, behavioural and learning problems.

The study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry examined more than 500 children aged 5-15 years at head injury over a 6-year period. Parents were asked to register what changes they noticed in their child after the head injury, and what follow-up they had received from clinicians. Even after a mild head injury, one in five children had a change in personality according to their parents.

Parents often described the personality change after the head injury as "like having a different child". Further, 43 percent of children with mild head injury had behavioural or learning problems that led to them being described as having a "moderate disability".

Overall around 30 percent of parents believed that their child's personality had changed as a result of the initial damage. Among children with more serious head injuries, about two thirds had moderate disability, and about half experienced a major change in personality after the head injury.

Dr Carol Hawley, from Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick, said: "Many children with mild injury do not receive routine follow-up after discharge home from hospital, yet a significant proportion of them do have some lasting problems which may affect their behaviour and ability to learn. This could put them at a disadvantage at school."

While all of the children in the study had been treated in a hospital after having a head injury, only 30 percent of parents said that doctors at the hospital had made a follow-up appointment for their child. In fact, 161 of the 252 children with moderate disability did not receive any follow-up care.

The study also suggests that there are there is inadequate provision for children with head injury, largely due to inadequate information. Teachers of only 40% of children were aware of the injury, and given the enduring nature of cognitive and behavioural problems following moderate or severe head injury, this is of concern.

Dr Carol Hawley continued: "It is likely that there are considerable numbers of children in the community, and back at school, who have suffered a head injury in the past and who might have subtle but important difficulties relating to that head injury."

To help identify children suffering from the lingering effects of a head injury, a research team is now working on a questionnaire that physicians could send to parents after children with head injury are sent home from the hospital. Children found to be at risk of problems could be offered a follow-up assessment. If necessary, children could be referred to an appropriate health professional, such as an educational psychologist or community paediatrician.
-end-
For more information contact: Jenny Murray, Communications Office, University of Warwick, Tel: 44-247-657-4255, Mobile: 0787-621-7740 or Dr Carol Hawley, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Tel: 247-652-2459, Mobile: 783-654-8152, Email: Carol.Hawley@wbs.ac.uk Outcomes Following Childhood Head Injury: A Population Study is published in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, May 2004

University of Warwick

Related Personality Articles from Brightsurf:

Infant temperament predicts personality more than 20 years later
Researchers investigating how temperament shapes adult life-course outcomes have found that behavioral inhibition in infancy predicts a reserved, introverted personality at age 26.

State of mind: The end of personality as we know it
In a study published today researchers propose that changing states of mind are holistic in that they exert all-encompassing and coordinated effects simultaneously on our perception, attention, thought, affect, and behavior.

Want to change your personality? It may not be easy to do alone
Most people want to change an aspect of their personality, but left to their own devices, they may not be successful in changing, research shows.

How personality predicts seeing others as sex objects
Several personality traits related to psychopathy -- especially being openly antagonistic -- predict a tendency to view others as merely sex objects, finds a study by psychologists at Emory University.

Scientists say you can change your personality
A review of recent research in personality science points to the possibility that personality traits can change through persistent intervention and major life events.

Personality traits affect retirement spending
How quickly you spend your savings in retirement may have as much or more to do with your personality than whether you have a lot of debt or want to leave an inheritance.

For the first time: A method for measuring animal personality
A study on mice shows animal research may need to take into account the connection between genes, behavior and personality.

Your spending data may reveal aspects of your personality
How you spend your money can signal aspects of your personality, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The sun may have a dual personality, simulations suggest
A deep dive into the sun's interior provides new clues to the forces that govern that star's internal clock.

A personality test for ads
People leave digital footprints online, and this information could helps marketers personalize ads based on individual personality types.

Read More: Personality News and Personality Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.