The social consequences of mild head injury and executive dysfunction /
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Mild head injury (MHI) is a serious cause of neurological impairment as is evident by the substantial percentage (15%) of individuals who remain symptomatic at least 1-year following "mild" head trauma. However, there is a paucity of research investigating the social consequences following a MHI. The first objective of this study was to examine whether measures of executive functioning were predictive of specific forms of antisocial behaviour, such as reactive aggression, impulsive antisocial behaviour, behavioural disinhibition, and deficits in social awareness after controlling for the variance accounted for by sex differences. The second objective was to investigate whether a history of MHI was predictive of these same social consequences after controlling for both sex differences and executive functioning. Ninety university students participated in neuropsychological testing and filled out self-report questionnaires. Fifty-two percent of the sample self-reported experiencing a MHI. As expected, men were more reactively aggressive and antisocial than women. Furthermore, executive dysfunction predicted reactive aggression and impulsive antisocial behaviour after controlling for sex differences. Finally, as expected, MHI status predicted reactive aggression, impulsive antisocial behaviour, and behavioural disinhibition after controlling for sex and executive fimctioning. MHI status and executive functioning did not predict social awareness or sensitivity to reward or punishment. These results suggest that incurring a MHI has serious social consequences that mirror the neurobehavioural profile following severe cases of brain injury. Therefore, the social sequelae after MHI imply a continuum of behavioural deficits between MHI and more severe forms of brain injury.