Current state of the literature on psychological and social sequelae of sports-related concussion in school-aged children and adolescents

Kristin Wilmoth, Alexander Tan, Cole Hague, Tahnae Tarkenton, Cheryl Silver, Nyaz Didehbani, Heidi Rossetti, Henry H Batjer, Kathleen R Bell, C Munro Cullum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Considerably less attention has been paid to psychological and social sequelae of concussion in youth athletes compared with neurocognitive outcomes. This narrative review consolidates the literature on postconcussive emotional and psychosocial functioning in school-aged children and adolescents, highlighting athlete-specific findings. MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases were queried for pediatric concussion studies examining psychological and/or social outcomes, and 604 studies met search criteria (11 of those specific to sport). Results were organized into domains: emotional and social dysfunction, behavioral problems, academic difficulties, sleep disturbance, headache, and quality of life. The small body of literature regarding psychological and social issues following pediatric concussion suggests behavioral disturbances at least temporarily disrupt daily life. Extrapolation from samples of athletes and nonathletes indicates postconcussive anxiety and depressive symptoms appear, although levels may be subclinical. Social and academic findings were less clear. Future well-controlled and adequately powered research will be essential to anticipate concussed athletes’ psychosocial needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Experimental Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Neuropsychology
  • Neurotrauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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