A pilot study of telehealth intervention (Teen online problem solving - New Zealand)


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability for young people in New Zealand, frequently resulting in long term difficulties with problem-solving, planning, organisation and maintaining social relationships. This study will evaluate an innovative internet-based problem-solving treatment programme developed specifically for adolescents after a head injury, and their families (Teen Online Problem Solving Intervention: TOPS).

Developed by Professor Shari Wade, a US-based international expert on paediatric TBI, this intervention aims to reduce the long-term consequences of head injury throughout adulthood and help people to achieve at school and in employment. This pilot study aims to examine the feasibility, preliminary efficacy, and participant satisfaction with a version of TOPS that has been specifically adapted for use in New Zealand. Adolescents (aged 11-18 years) and a parent/caregiver are currently being recruited for this study via a number of TBI service providers.

Key research questions include: Can a novel online problem solving intervention improve adolescent behaviour and family functioning post-TBI comparable to a usual care group? Is implementation of TOPS feasible within an existing rehabilitation setting? How satisfied are adolescents and their families with the TOPS programme?

Longer-term, if participation in TOPS is found to be effective in reducing the long term effects of brain injury, and it is more affordable to provide, and more accessible than traditional health services, this will mean more teens throughout New Zealand can access high quality treatment to improve the recovery following a head injury.



  • Dr Kelly Jones.

Co-investigators include:

  • Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo (University of Auckland)
  • Professor Shari Wade (Cincinatti Children's Hospital)
  • Ms Priya Parmar (AUT University)
  • Associate Professor Alice Theadom (AUT University)
  • Professor Valery Feigin (AUT University)
  • Rachelle Bennett (ABI Rehabilitation New Zealand Ltd)
  • Cath Hunter (Geneva Health)

Funded by:

  • AUT University School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies internal contestable funding.