Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 11, P2131-2142, November 2018

Social Competence Treatment After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Trial of Interactive Group Treatment Versus Noninteractive Treatment



      To evaluate the effectiveness of a replicable group treatment program for improving social competence after traumatic brain injury (TBI).


      Multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing 2 methods of conducting a social competency skills program, an interactive group format versus a classroom lecture.


      Community and veteran rehabilitation centers.


      Civilian, military, and veteran adults with TBI and social competence difficulties (N=179), at least 6 months postinjury.


      The experimental intervention consisted of 13 weekly group interactive sessions (1.5h) with structured and facilitated group interactions to improve social competence, and the control consisted of 13 traditional classroom sessions using the same curriculum with brief supplemental individual sessions but without structured group interaction.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Profile of Pragmatic Impairment in Communication (PPIC), an objective behavioral rating of social communication impairments after TBI. LaTrobe Communication Questionnaire (LCQ), Goal Attainment Scale (GAS), Satisfaction with Life Scale, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-C (PCL) civilian version, Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18), Scale of Perceived Social Self-Efficacy (PSSE).


      Social competence goals (GAS) were achieved and maintained for most participants regardless of treatment method. Significant improvements in the primary outcome (PPIC) and 2 of the secondary outcomes (LCQ and BSI) were seen immediately posttreatment and at 3 months posttreatment in the alternative treatment arm only; however, these improvements were not significantly different between the group interactive structured treatment and alternative treatment arms. Similar trends were observed for PSSE and PCL-C.


      Social competence skills improved for persons with TBI in both treatment conditions. The group interactive format was not found to be a superior method of treatment delivery in this study.


      List of abbreviations:

      AT (Alternative Treatment), BSI (Brief Symptom Inventory), GAS (Goal Attainment Scale), GIST (group interactive structured treatment), LCQ (LaTrobe Communication Questionnaire), MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), OSU-TBI-ID (Ohio State University Traumatic Brain Injury Identification), PCL-C (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version), PPIC (Profile of Pragmatic Impairment in Communication), PSSE (Scale of Perceived Social Self-Efficacy), PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), RAVLT (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test), SWLS (Satisfaction with Life Scale), TBI (traumatic brain injury), TMT (Trail Making Test), VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)
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