Kessler Foundation researcher receives grant to study emotional processing deficits in children with TBI

Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, of Kessler Foundation, received a two-year $168,001 grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research to study the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the ability of children to reliably process the emotions of others.

Children with TBI often struggle with social interaction and relationships, even years after their injury. Difficulty in emotional processing may contribute to these social problems. Specifically, difficulty correctly identifying emotions from facial expressions can have significant negative impacts on social interactions, mood, and quality of life.

While there has been much research on emotional processing problems in adults with TBI, much less has been done in children with TBI who have these deficits. Developing and applying treatments to improve emotional processing is critical to improving how these children function at home, in school, and eventually, the workplace.”

Dr. Jean Lengenfelder, Assistant Director, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

Dr. Lengenfelder’s pilot study is based on an existing 12-session treatment used to teach adults with TBI to correctly recognize facial expressions of different emotions. The research team will adapt this treatment to the pediatric population, and test its effectiveness in improving emotional processing deficits in children recovering from TBI.

Kessler Foundation conducts pediatric rehabilitation research in partnership with Children’s Specialized Hospital.

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