Teen Online Problem-Solving


Teen Online Problem Solving (TOPS) is structured into 16 sessions, with 10 "core" sessions providing problem solving, executive functioning, communication and social skills/social problem solving training and 6 sessions addressing content related to the stressors experienced by individual participants.  The intervention relies on the adolescent to change and monitor their own behaviour with support from their parents.  Each online session includes audio clips of adolescents talking about their experience of traumatic brain injury, video clips of adolescents and families modelling skills, and skills practice exercises.   Each session also involves an online appointment with a therapist via video conference, to provide an opportunity to review exercises and address issues.

Service URL:
Agency Responsible:
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.


Intervention Type:
Psychological - Problem solving.
Course Length:
Long (more than 5 modules).
Support Option:
Clinical support. Provided through online meetings with therapist via video conference

Target Audience

Primary Category:
Traumatic brain injury.
Target Audiences:
Adolescent and Families.


Closed: Email administrator.
Contact Details:


Research evidence

Research Trials:
Research RCTs:
Outcome Summary:

In a feasibility study, participants gave the TOPS website and videoconferences moderate to high helpfulness and ease of use ratings.  In one non-controlled trial, significant improvements were found in teen internalizing behaviors, self-reported depression, parental depression and parent-teen conflict.  Parents and teens also reported increased knowledge and skills for coping with TBI.  In a randomised trial comparing TOPS with generic Internet-based TBI information, teens with severe TBI who received the TOPS treatment reported significantly greater improvements in executive functioning than did those with severe TBI in the Internet resource comparison.

Recommended rating, reviewer 1:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.
Recommended rating, reviewer 2:

There is evidence that the site might work. More conclusive studies are needed.

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Research paper citations

  1. Wade, S. L., Walz, N. C., Carey, J. C., & Williams, K. M. (2008).  Preliminary efficacy of a Web-based family problem-solving treatment program for adolescents with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 23(6), 369-377.
  2. Wade, S. L., Chertkoff, N., Carey, J. C., & Williams, K. M. (2009). Brief report: Description of feasibility and satisfaction findings from an innovative online family problem-solving intervention for adolescents following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 34(5), 517-522.
  3. Wade, S. L., Walz, N. C., Carey, J., Williams, K. M., Cass, J., Herren, L., Mark, E., & Yeates, K. O. (2010).  A randomized trial of teen online problem solving for improving executive function deficits following pediatric traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 25(6), 409-415.

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Last Updated: July 26th 2011