Self-awareness after a traumatic brain injury in childhood

(Pictured above: Josh, one of the children who took part in this study)


Impaired self-awareness is a common consequence of a brain injury that can have a negative impact on people's engagement in rehabilitation. This can lead to poor long term outcomes. This is one of the first studies to look at interrupted self-awareness after a sudden brain injury in childhood.

Research outline

15 children and young people took part in this study and were visited in their own homes up to four times over an 18 month period. They filled in questionnaires, were interviewed and had the chance to make a chocolate cake on one of the visits. Teachers and parents also filled in questionnaires and the results were compared.


  • Self-awareness is interrupted after a traumatic brain injury
  • Children and young people change over time. They come close to their peers in some aspects of self-awareness
  • Children and young people find it is more difficult to identify their social problems
  • Children and young people rate themselves lower than typically developing children in their physical skills
  • Children and young people found it easier to understand their difficulties when they were carrying out an activity
Some results from this study were shared at the First International Paediatric Brain Injury Conference in September 2015. Further results will be presented at the International Brain Injury Association 11th World Congress in The Hague in March 2016. A literature review was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy. The results will be published in peer reviewed academic journals.


Lorna Wales, Senior Research Associate, as part of PhD studies at University of Warwick.