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Depression and Depressive Symptoms in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Scoping Review

Laliberté Durish, Christianne, MSc; Pereverseff, Rosemary, S., BSc; Yeates, Keith, O., PhD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: May/June 2018 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p E18–E30
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000343
Pediatric TBI 2018

Objective: This scoping review aimed to summarize the existing knowledge base regarding depression and depressive symptoms in pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to identify gaps in the literature in an effort to guide future research.

Methods: MEDLINE Ovid and PsycINFO Ovid databases were each searched by the authors using search terms intended to identify any original research study that examined depressive symptoms in children (ie, aged 0-18 years) with TBI.

Results: A total of 14 published studies were included in the review. The studies included examined the prevalence of depression, risk factors associated with depression, and depression as a predictor of other TBI-related outcomes.

Conclusion: Existing research suggests that depressive symptoms are more common in a TBI population than in a healthy or orthopedically injured population. Injury-related factors such as lesions in the brain and the presence of pain, as well as noninjury factors such as older age at injury and low socioeconomic status, may be predictive of depressive symptoms. Depression is likely a secondary outcome of pediatric TBI rather than a direct result of the injury itself. Overall, a relative dearth of research exists on this topic; thus, the review concludes by proposing future research directions.

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (Ms Laliberté Durish and Dr Yeates), Department of Psychology (Mss Pereverseff and Laliberté Durish and Dr Yeates), University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Dr Yeates).

Corresponding Author: Christianne Laliberté Durish, MSc, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada (

The first author received funding from Alberta Innovates–Health Solutions in the form of a graduate studentship. No direct sources of funding supported this article.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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