To investigate the natural course of activities and participation of children up to 6 months after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
A prospective longitudinal cohort study with complete data sets of 231 children diagnosed with mTBI and their caregivers.
Activities and participation assessed with the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP) and the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment (CAPE) measured at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months post-mTBI. Because of a ceiling effect, the primary outcome measure (CASP) was divided into deviant (not maximum score) or full functioning.
Friedman’s, Cochran’s Q, and McNemar’s tests (CASP) and repeated-measures analyses of variance (CAPE) showed significant increases in activities and participation between 2 weeks and 3 and 6 months after mTBI. Based on the parents’ perspective, 67% of the children returned to full functioning at 6 months postinjury, with only 38% of the children describing themselves as functioning at their premorbid level.
Findings indicate that most children return to maximum level of activities and participation over time after mTBI. In a substantial number of children, however, the level of activities and participation at 6 months postinjury is evaluated as lower than that of peers. The importance of investigating predictors for child and caregiver perspectives is emphasized.