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Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Trajectories in Parents of Children Exposed to Motor Vehicle Collisions

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Rachel M. Hiller, Sarah L. Halligan, Rachel Ariyanayagam, Tim Dalgleish, Patrick Smith, William Yule, Ed Glucksman, Peter Watson, Richard Meiser-Stedman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date11 Aug 2015
Accepted/In press2 Jul 2015
E-pub ahead of print11 Aug 2015
Published1 Jan 2016


King's Authors


Objective Following child trauma, parents are at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), either owing to their direct involvement or from hearing of their child's involvement. Despite the potential impact of a parent's development of PTSD on both the parent and child, little is known about what may place a parent at increased risk. Method PTSD symptoms were assessed ≤4 weeks, 6 months, and 3 years post-trauma, along with a range of potential risk factors, in a sample of parents of 2-10-year-old children who were involved in a motor vehicle collision. Results and Conclusions Two symptom trajectories were identified: Those parents whose symptoms remained low across all time points and those whose symptoms remained elevated at 6 months post-trauma and declined by 3 years. Subjective threat, thought suppression, and maladaptive cognitions about damage to the child were identified as key predictors of poorer outcomes.

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