Verbal fluency is a neuropsychological measure commonly used to examine cognitive-linguistic performance as reported in pediatric TBI literature. We synthesized the scholarly literature of verbal fluency performance in pediatric TBI and estimated the effects of TBI according to: (i) type of verbal fluency task (phonemic or semantic), (ii) severity of TBI, and (iii) time post-injury. Meta-analysis revealed that childhood TBI negatively impacted phonemic fluency and semantic fluency and that effect sizes were larger for children with more severe TBI. The negative effect of TBI was evident across time post injury within each level of severity. Verbal fluency tasks are efficient indicators of potential underlying impairments in lexical knowledge and executive functioning in children with TBI regardless of severity of injury or time post injury. Future research employing verbal fluency tasks are encouraged to explore if age at injury differentiates semantic versus phonemic fluency outcomes across severity levels.

References

PubMed