Anxiety after Severe Pediatric Closed Head Injury

Roma A. Vasa, Joan P. Gerring, Marco Grados, Beth Slomine, James R. Christensen, William Rising, Martha B. Denckla, Mark A. Riddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the frequency of anxiety symptoms and disorders 1 year after severe pediatric closed head injury (CHI) and to determine the risk factors associated with these postinjury outcomes. Method: Ninety-seven subjects were prospectively followed for 1 year after severe CHI (Glasgow Coma Scale Score = 3-8). Assessments of preinjury and 1-year postinjury psychiatric status and psychosocial adversity were conducted. Frequency of anxiety symptoms and disorders 1 year after injury were the outcome measures. Data collection occurred between 1992 and 1996. Results: There was a significant increase in the total number of anxiety symptoms after injury compared with before injury. The most frequent symptoms were overanxious symptoms, followed by obsessive-compulsive symptoms, separation anxiety symptoms, and simple phobia symptoms. There was a trend toward an increase in the frequency of overanxious disorder after injury. Preinjury anxiety symptoms correlated positively with postinjury anxiety symptoms and disorders. Younger age at injury correlated positively with postinjury anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: One year after severe CHI, children are at risk for a variety of anxiety symptoms and, possibly, overanxious disorder. Preinjury anxiety and younger age at injury are risk factors for these disturbances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Anxiety
  • Closed head injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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