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Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e318218dd22
Original Article

Impairments in Learning, Memory, and Metamemory Following Childhood Head Injury

Crowther, Jason E. PhD; Hanten, Gerri PhD; Li, Xiaoqi MS; Dennis, Maureen PhD; Chapman, Sandra B. PhD; Levin, Harvey S. PhD

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Abstract

Objective: To assess postinjury changes in learning, memory, and metamemory abilities following childhood traumatic brain injury.

Design: Prospective, longitudinal with 5 assessments made from baseline to 24 months postinjury.

Participants: A total of 167 children (aged 5–15 years) with traumatic brain injury (TBI; 64 severe, 55 moderate, and 48 mild).

Methods: Children completed a judgment of learning task with 4 recall trials and made 3 metamemory judgments.

Results: Relative to those with mild TBI, children with moderate or severe TBI performed worse at earlier times postinjury and had a greater change in performance over time. Performance for moderate and severe groups peaked at 12 months and the performance gap between them and mild TBI group increased slightly from 12 to 24 months. Traumatic brain injury severity did not affect initial study-recall trial performance, but groups did diverge in performance with repeated study. Greater TBI severity was associated with poorer performance on prospective metamemory judgments, but not retrospective judgments.

Conclusions: Traumatic brain injury severity affected prospective judgments of memory performance and learning strategies, but did not appear to affect either word retention or the forgetting of words over a delay. Implications for rehabilitation are discussed.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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