Shina Halavi


In the United States, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) annually. About 75% of these TBIs are mild, which are referred to as “concussions.” This study assessed the neurocognitive and psychosocial effects of repeated concussions in children and adolescents and their interactions with age and gender. It also assessed the correlation between psychosocial functioning and neurocognitive functioning. Given the paucity of research on the effects of concussion in the developing brain, the current study characterized the neurocognitive and psychosocial effects of concussion in young populations. The overarching hypothesis stated that repeated concussions would induce more severe neurocognitive and psychosocial deficits than a single concussion. Concussion-induced effects were hypothesized to be worse in females and adolescents. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that pre- and post-morbid impairment would be negatively correlated with post-morbid neurocognitive functioning. The results showed that those who performed worse on tasks of executive function also experienced more post-morbid depression. Additionally, data trends

suggested that repeated concussions induced more anxiety and depression than a single concussion. In addition, children performed worse on tasks of executive function and demonstrated more hyperactivity following concussion than adolescents. Females performed better on the spatial Rey-O Copy and verbal WASI-II Vocabulary tasks than males following concussion, and males endorsed a greater increase in depression and hyperactivity following concussion. Since some of the subjects’ recovery from concussion was atypical (i.e., experienced persistent concussion-induced effects past the typical range of recovery), these findings may not translate to typically recovering individuals. Nevertheless, these findings clarify understanding and increase awareness of the specific complications associated with concussion in young people and can be used as a baseline of reference as to how repeated concussion-induced effects compare to those following single concussion in the younger aged population. These findings may lead to modifications in the return-to-play guidelines and safety measures of physical activities, with the hopes of diminishing the prevalence of repeated concussions and mitigating the resulting adverse effects.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Hartman, Richard E.

Second Advisor

Hamilton, Anita H.

Third Advisor

Distelberg, Brian J.

Fourth Advisor

Lee, Grace J.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Cognition disorders; Brain Injuries; Child; Adolescent; Social Psychology

Subject - Local

Traumatic Brain Injury; Concussions



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