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Parental influences on posttraumatic responding in children and adolescents.

  • Sabine Wilhelm
Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Conference Abstracts
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


There is a growing body of evidence that the parents of trauma-exposed children report posttraumatic stress symptoms whether they are directly exposed to the same trauma as the child or not. The parents’ symptoms also correlate with the child’s self-reported symptoms – although not as strongly as some might expect. There is a widespread assumption that anxious parents model and reward anxious behaviours in their offspring and this might contribute to anxiety onset and maintenance in the child. This assumption has not been looked at in children with PTSD. The present study aimed to (i) design and pilot an observational measure of parent behaviour towards children with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a 10-minute trauma focused parent-child interaction task, and (ii) explore the relationships between the observed parent behaviours from this interaction and self-report measures of parenting behaviours, child and parent symptomatology, and trauma-related appraisals. Twenty parent-child dyads were recruited from a child traumatic stress clinic. The factor found to most strongly relate to the child’s PTSD severity was the strength of their own negative trauma-related beliefs. Observed parent fear/distress behaviours were significantly related to the parent’s own negative trauma-related beliefs, but not to the child’s PTSD symptoms or beliefs. Similarly, parent self-reported maladaptive parenting behaviours were significantly related to the parent’s own symptoms and negative beliefs, but not to the child’s PTSD level. Finally, there were associations found between parent depression and child PTSD symptom severity, as well as between the parent and child’s negative trauma-related beliefs. These results suggest that specific parenting behaviours may not be directly related to the child’s PTSD, but that parents’ depression and trauma-related beliefs may play a role.


  • Psychology
  • PTSD
  • children
  • families
  • parental influences


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