Brain Impairment

Articles

Adaptive Behaviour and Moral Reasoning in Children with Frontal Lobe Lesions

Emma Coupera1, Rani Jacobsa2 and Vicki Andersona3 c1

a1 University of Melbourne, Australia.

a2 University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

a3 University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. v.anderson@psych.unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Children with frontal lobe damage often appear to demonstrate remarkable recovery with few apparent signs of impairment immediately after injury. Over time, however, many develop increasing deficits in self-regulation, attention, and executive function, as well as in other higher functions. Current literature suggests that, in particular, these children seem to experience worsening socio-behavioural problems. Some case studies (Grattan & Eslinger, 1992; Anderson et al., 1999) describe individuals with childhood frontal lesions who developed severe social problems, deficits in executive functions and who also had lower than expected levels of moral reasoning. In the present study, social-adaptive behaviour and maturity of moral reasoning were measured in 16 children with focal frontal lesions and in 12 age-matched controls. Children with frontal lobe lesions had poorer adaptive behaviour ratings and lower levels of moral maturity than controls. These results support previous research suggesting that children with frontal lobe lesions have reduced social understanding and typically experience ongoing sociobehavioural problems.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Vicki Anderson, Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.