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Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) are considered self-limiting and full recovery is expected. Recent studies identify deficits persisting years after mTBI. Large-scale prospective data permit testing the hypothesis that mTBI increases incidence of affective and behavioral symptoms after new, past , or new and past mTBI. The study involved secondary analyses of survey responses from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Adolescents in the ABCD Study ( n = 11 869; Wave 1, aged 9-10 years; Wave 2, aged 11-12 years) whose parents reported a new ( n = 157), past ( n = 1318), or new and past ( n = 50) mTBI on the Ohio State University Traumatic Brain Injury Identification Method short form were compared with controls who had no history of mTBI ( n = 9,667). Multivariable binary logistic regression models examined associations between a new, past, or new and past mTBI and current affective (aggression, depression, anxiety) and behavioral (somatic, thought, social, attention, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct) disorders while controlling for demographic factors and baseline symptoms. The primary measure was parental reports of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms on the Child Behavior Checklist. Girls exhibited no significant effects after a new mTBI, although a past mTBI increased anxiety (adjusted odds ratios [aOR] = 1.83, 95% confidence interval [CI: 1.15-2.90]) and attention (1.89 [1.09-3.28]) problems. Girls with new and past mTBIs reported elevated anxiety (17.90 [4.67-68.7]), aggression (7.37 [1.49-36.3]), social (9.07 [2.47-33.30]), thought (7.58 [2.24-25.60]), and conduct (6.39 [1.25-32.50]) disorders. In boys, new mTBI increased aggression (aOR = 3.83, 95% CI [1.42-10.30]), whereas past mTBI heightened anxiety (1.91 [1.42-2.95]), but new and past mTBIs had no significant effects. Adolescents are at greater risk of affective and behavioral symptoms after an mTBI. These effects differ as a function of gender and time of injury. Extended screening for mTBI history and monitoring of affective and behavioral disorders after mTBI in adolescents are warranted. Copyright © 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Philip T Veliz, Marian E Berryhill. Gender Differences in Adolescents' Affective Symptoms and Behavioral Disorders After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation. 2023 Jul-Aug 01;38(4):308-318

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PMID: 36689685

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