Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 52–85

Rehabilitation Treatments for Adults with Behavioral and Psychosocial Disorders Following Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review


    • Department of Neuroscience—Neurology UnitUniversity of Parma
  • Marina Zettin
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Turin
  • Pierluigi Zoccolotti
    • Department of PsychologyLa Sapienza University
    • Neuropsychology UnitIRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia

DOI: 10.1007/s11065-009-9125-y

Cite this article as:
Cattelani, R., Zettin, M. & Zoccolotti, P. Neuropsychol Rev (2010) 20: 52. doi:10.1007/s11065-009-9125-y


This review was aimed at systematically investigating the treatment efficacy and clinical effectiveness of neurobehavioral rehabilitation programs for adults with acquired brain injury and making evidence-based recommendations for the adoption of these rehabilitation trainings. Using a variety of search procedures, 63 studies were identified and reviewed using a set of questions about research methods, treatments, results and outcomes for the 1,094 participants. The 63 studies included treatments falling into three general categories: approaches based on applied behavior analysis, interventions based on cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), and comprehensive-holistic rehabilitation programs (CHRPs). Considerable heterogeneity exists in the reviewed literature among treatment methods and within reported sample subjects. Despite the variety of methodological concerns, results indicate that the greatest overall improvement in psychosocial functioning is achieved by CHRP that can be considered a treatment standard for adults with behavioral and psychosocial disorders following acquired brain injury. Both approaches based on applied behavior analysis and CBT can be said to be evidence-based treatment options. However, findings raise questions about the role of uncontrolled factors in determining treatment effects and suggest the need for rigorous inclusion/exclusion criteria, with greater specification of theoretical basis, design, and contents of treatments for both interdisciplinary-comprehensive approaches and single-case methodologies.


Acquired brain injuryNeurobehavioral disordersPsychosocial disordersEvidence-based rehabilitationReview

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010