Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) are common conditions following motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). Mild TBI and PTSD not only share similar features but may also coexist and interact. Nonetheless, research on psychotherapeutic interventions for PTSD in patients with a history of mTBI, particularly regarding pediatric populations, is limited. The present study compared the efficacy of the prolonged exposure treatment protocol for children and adolescents (PE-A) with PTSD and mTBI (n = 16) versus PTSD alone (n = 21); treatment commenced at least 3 months following an MVA. Emotional status and cognitive functioning were assessed pre- and postintervention using questionnaires and standardized neuropsychological tests. Participants from both groups benefitted from the intervention, as reflected in their emotional status via increased ratings of well-being and decreased ratings of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and postconcussive symptoms, η2 =.21–.50. Ratings of cognitive function also improved for cognitive flexibility, η2 =.30; executive function in everyday life, η2 =.27; and attention and inhibition, η2 =.16. Parental PTSD was the strongest predictor of improvement after intervention, sr2 =.35. Thus, it appears that PE-A is an effective intervention for children with MVA-related PTSD regardless of its comorbidity with mTBI.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was carried out as part of a PhD dissertation by Shira Segev at Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel. This study was supported in part by a grant from the Israel Insurance Association.
© 2020 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies