Research Reports - Adult functioning of mothers with traumatic brain injury at high risk of child abuse

NeuroRehabilitation. 2014 Jan 7

van Vliet-Ruissen C(1), McKinlay A(2), Taylor A(1)

BACKGROUND: There is little information regarding the impact that traumatic brain
injury (TBI) has on the functioning of mothers at risk of child abuse.
OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated adult functioning (e.g. child abuse, substance
use, criminal convictions, and mental health problems) of mothers, at high risk
for child abuse, who also had a history of TBI compared with those without TBI.
It was hypothesised that mothers with a history of TBI would engage in higher
rates of dysfunctional behaviour compared to those with no history of TBI.
METHOD: Participants were 206 women engaged in a child abuse prevention programme
for mothers who are highly socially disadvantaged, and at high risk for child
abuse. Using historical data collected as part of the referral, and self report
intake process, this study compared child abuse, mental health problems
(depression, anxiety, substance use) and rates of criminal offending for mothers
with a history of TBI versus those with no history of TBI.
RESULTS: Mothers with TBI were no more likely than those without TBI to have
engaged in child abuse. However, mothers with a history of TBI were significantly
more likely to have one or more mental health problems, engage in substance use
and have a history of criminal offending.
CONCLUSIONS: Parents with TBI who have been identified as high risk for engaging
in child abuse have increased risk for mental health problems and criminal
offending. These issues need to be considered when designing parenting programmes
in order for intervention strategies to be effective.

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