Treatment efficacy of social communication skills training after traumatic brain injury: a randomized treatment and deferred treatment controlled trial.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of a replicable group treatment program to improve social communication skills after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

DESIGN: Randomized treatment and deferred treatment controlled trial, with follow-up at 3, 6, and 9 months post-treatment.

SETTING: Community.

PARTICIPANTS: Volunteer sample of 52 people with TBI who were at least 1 year postinjury, who received rehabilitation, and who had identified social communication deficits.

INTERVENTION: Twelve weekly group sessions (1.5 h each) to improve social communication.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The Profile of Functional Impairment in Communication (PFIC), Social Communication Skills Questionnaire-Adapted (SCSQ-A), Goal Attainment Scale (GAS), Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique-Short Form social integration and occupation subscales, Community Integration Questionnaire social integration and productivity subscales, and Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).

RESULTS: Independent samples t test analysis showed significant treatment effect compared with no treatment on 7 of 10 of the PFIC subscales (P range, .024 to <.001) and the SCSQ-A (P=.005) after the first 12 weeks of the study. After 12 weeks of treatment for all participants, repeated-measures analysis showed significant improvements from baseline on 9 of 10 PFIC subscales (P range, .01-.001), SCSQ-A (P < or = .001), GAS (P < or = .001), and SWLS (P = .011). At 6-month follow-up, scores were significantly better than baseline on 6 of 10 PFIC scales (P range, .01-.001), the SCSQ-A (P < or = .001), GAS (P < or = .001), and SWLS (P < or = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: TBI subjects who received social communication skills training had improved communication skills that were maintained on follow-up. Overall life satisfaction for participants was improved.