Despite the severe and long-term neurological consequences and the prevalence of non-accidental head trauma (NAT) among infants, few empirical studies have specifically examined the neuropsychological consequences in this population of children. The current study examined the relationship between clinical variables, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H-MRS), and neuropsychological outcome in this high-risk population of children. Infants and children with a confirmed diagnosis of NAT were recruited by the Division of Pediatric Neurology at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and administered a comprehensive follow-up neuropsychological evaluation and neurological exam several months post injury. At the conclusion of the study, there were 13 participants with a mean age of M = 3.62, SD = 1.61. Results revealed several significant correlations between 1H-MRS, clinical variables, and neuropsychological outcome that are consistent with previous findings as well. As such, the current findings suggest that neurometabolite ratios observed at time of injury can potentially play a significant role in understanding possible functional outcomes the caregivers of these children can expect. Global neuropsychological deficits were also identified among children with non-accidental head trauma, suggesting the need for clinical interventions in this high-risk population. Several significant associations between child deficits observed in this population and parental stress were identified, which has significant implications for the child’s recovery trajectory as well.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Burley, Toddy

Second Advisor

Aaen, Gregory

Third Advisor

Krishnamurthy, Vidhya

Fourth Advisor

Ropacki, Susan

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Brain Injuries - Children; Head Injuries - Closed; Trauma Severity Indices; Neuropsychological Tests; Neurobehavioral Manifestations; Developmental Disabilities

Subject - Local

Non-accidental Head Trauma; Magnetic Resonance Spectoscopy; High-risk Populations; Neurometabolite Ratios; Global Neuropsychological Deficits



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives