Socio-emotional behaviour following acquired brain injury
Introduction: Socio-emotional behaviour difficulties following acquired brain injury (ABI) have been shown to have a persisting negative effect on quality of life. A systematic review was carried out to look at the efficacy and clinical effectiveness of available psychological treatments for socio-emotional behaviour difficulties following ABI. Research was carried out to further understand socio-emotional behaviour by exploring the possible underlying cognitive aspects (specifically social cognition) in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) population. The study investigated the relationship between social cognition and socio-emotional behaviour post-TBI. Method: A systematic search of articles published between January 2008 and November 2013 was carried out following the Cochrane (2008) guidelines. Papers were quality assessed to identify strengths and weaknesses. In the research study, forty TBI participants were asked to complete tasks of emotion recognition, theory of mind, cognitive flexibility, processing speed, attention and working memory. Selfrated and proxy-rated behaviour questionnaires were also administered. Results: The systematic review revealed seven studies for inclusion; three papers looked at a Comprehensive Holistic Approach, two papers on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and two on Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy. The findings suggested that CHA showed the best efficacy and generalization. However, there were also positive results within the CBT studies. The research paper found that the TBI group performed significantly poorer than the control group on measures of emotion recognition and three out of the four ToM tasks. The TBI group also performed significantly poorer on measures of processing speed and working memory (executive function). There was no association found between performance on any of the cognitive tests and socio-emotional behaviour. Conclusions: This is an area of limited research, likely due to the challenges of carrying out research in an ABI population. The systematic review highlighted the limited research available which has implications in clinical practice due to a lack of evidence base for potentially effective interventions. The research study results suggest that there is still a lack of understanding of socio-emotional behaviour and its underlying cognitive functioning. Further research would improve understanding and could also focus appropriate post-ABI interventions for socio-emotional behaviour problems.