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Study Finds More Than One Third of Parents Experience Traumatic Stress One Month After Child's Injury
Date:1/11/2010

re feeling nervous, worried, upset or overwhelmed," says Dr. Kassam-Adams. "Parents need to take time to talk about their concerns or feelings with loved ones, take a break, and recognize when outside help might be needed."

In this study, the researchers worked with 334 parents of children who had suffered road traffic injuries requiring hospital care. The researchers identified factors that predicted the severity of ASD (acute trauma symptoms rated in the first month) and PTSD (longer-lasting trauma symptoms rated about six months later) in parents of the injured children. Highlights from these findings include:

  • The severity of parents' PTSD six months after the injury was strongly associated with the severity of their traumatic symptoms within one month after the injury.
  • Parents who had experienced a previous trauma had more severe traumatic stress symptoms immediately after their child's injury and six months later.
  • Parents' traumatic stress symptoms were linked to their experience of the injury. Those that experienced more severe and persistent symptoms were present when their child was injured, perceived their child to be in pain, or thought that their child's life was in danger.
  • Parents' traumatic stress symptoms were linked to their child's symptoms. They were more likely to experience PTSD if their child was in poorer physical health six months after the injury than they were before the injury, or when their child reported more severe acute traumatic stress symptoms.

"The focus after an injury is on the child's physical recovery. Our previous research demonstrated that a child's full recovery plan needs to address physical and emotional needs. This study points to the needs of parents of injured children, which might be overlooked," says Dr. Winston. "Parents need to know how to find the help and support they need so that they can give help and support to their injured child."
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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