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Profiles of Executive Function Across Children with Distinct Brain Disorders: Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and Brain Tumor

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 May 2017

Gabriel C. Araujo*
Department of Psychology, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri
Tanya N. Antonini
Section of Psychology, Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas
Vicki Anderson
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Department of Psychology, The Royal Children’s Hospital, School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Kathryn A. Vannatta
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Christina G. Salley
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, New York
Erin D. Bigler
Department of Psychological Science and Neuroscience Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
H. Gerry Taylor
Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Cynthia Gerhardt
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Kenneth Rubin
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Maureen Dennis
Program in Neuroscience and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Warren Lo
Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
Mark T. Mackay
Department of Neurology, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Anne Gordon
Paediatric Neurology, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Kings College London, London, United Kingdom
Christine Hajek Koterba
Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
Alison Gomes
Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Mardee Greenham
Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Keith Owen Yeates
Department of Psychology, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Gabriel C. Araujo, One Children’s Place, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail:


Objectives: This study examined whether children with distinct brain disorders show different profiles of strengths and weaknesses in executive functions, and differ from children without brain disorder. Methods: Participants were children with traumatic brain injury (N=82; 8–13 years of age), arterial ischemic stroke (N=36; 6–16 years of age), and brain tumor (N=74; 9–18 years of age), each with a corresponding matched comparison group consisting of children with orthopedic injury (N=61), asthma (N=15), and classmates without medical illness (N=68), respectively. Shifting, inhibition, and working memory were assessed, respectively, using three Test of Everyday Attention: Children’s Version (TEA-Ch) subtests: Creature Counting, Walk-Don’t-Walk, and Code Transmission. Comparison groups did not differ in TEA-Ch performance and were merged into a single control group. Profile analysis was used to examine group differences in TEA-Ch subtest scaled scores after controlling for maternal education and age. Results: As a whole, children with brain disorder performed more poorly than controls on measures of executive function. Relative to controls, the three brain injury groups showed significantly different profiles of executive functions. Importantly, post hoc tests revealed that performance on TEA-Ch subtests differed among the brain disorder groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that different childhood brain disorders result in distinct patterns of executive function deficits that differ from children without brain disorder. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed. (JINS, 2017, 23, 529–538)

Research Articles
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2017 

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