Effectiveness of the Brains Ahead! Intervention: 6 Months Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial in School-Aged Children With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

M. Irene Renaud, Ingrid G L van de Port, Coriene E Catsman-Berrevoets, Sebastian Köhler, Suzanne A M Lambregts, Caroline M van Heugten*

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of Brains Ahead!, a psychoeducational intervention aimed to prevent long-term problems with activities and participation in children after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

PARTICIPANTS: In total, 124 children, aged 6 to 18 years, diagnosed with mTBI and their caregivers.

METHOD: After randomization, participants in the intervention group received a face-to-face psychoeducational session with written take-home information and follow-up telephone call(s). Participants in the control group received usual care, consisting of a concise information brochure.

PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Activities and participation (Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation [CASP]).

SECONDARY OUTCOMES: fatigue, postconcussive symptoms (PCSs), posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs), and quality of life (QOL).

RESULTS: Generalized Estimated Equation analyses showed that both groups improved over the first 6 months post-mTBI, but the intervention group did not differ significantly on the CASP. Mann-Whitney U tests showed that the intervention group reported significantly less fatigue, PCSs, and PTSSs and better QOL compared with the control group at 6 months post-MTBI.

CONCLUSIONS: The Brains Ahead! intervention resulted in significant improvements compared with usual care in reducing fatigue, PCSs, and PTSSs and improving QOL. Lack of an effect on activities and participation may be due to the ceiling effect of the CASP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E490-E500
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • activities and participation
  • children
  • intervention
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • RCT
  • LIFE

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