Hydrocephalus can impact all areas of health, including physical, cognitive, and social-emotional functioning. The social-emotional health of children who have had surgery for hydrocephalus is not well characterized. In this study, the authors sought to examine social-emotional functioning using the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Third Edition (BASC-3) and the Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire (HOQ) in 66 children aged 5 to 17 years.
Caregivers of pediatric patients with hydrocephalus completed the BASC-3 and the HOQ. BASC-3 internalizing, externalizing, and executive functioning caregiver-reported scores were compared with the BASC-3 normative sample using one-sample t-tests to evaluate overall social-emotional functioning. BASC-3 scores were correlated with the social-emotional domain of the HOQ using Pearson’s r to determine if the HOQ accurately captured the social-emotional functioning of children with hydrocephalus in a neurosurgery setting. BASC-3 and HOQ scores of children with different etiologies of hydrocephalus were compared using the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance to determine if differences existed between the following etiologies: intraventricular hemorrhage secondary to prematurity, myelomeningocele, communicating congenital hydrocephalus, aqueductal stenosis, or other.
Children with hydrocephalus of all etiologies had more difficulties with social-emotional functioning compared with normative populations. Children with different hydrocephalus etiologies differed in executive functioning and overall HOQ scores but not in internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, or social-emotional HOQ scores. The social-emotional domain of the HOQ correlated more strongly with the BASC-3 than did the physical and cognitive domains.
These results have provided evidence that children who have had surgery for hydrocephalus may be at increased risk of social-emotional and behavioral difficulties, but etiology may not be particularly helpful in predicting what kinds or degree of difficulty. The results of this study also support the convergent and divergent validity of the social-emotional domain of the HOQ.