OBJECTIVE: To determine how parental injury affects the psychological health and functioning of injured as well as uninjured children.
METHODS: We recruited 175 parent-child dyads treated at a regional trauma center in 4 groups: parent and child both injured in the same event, child-only injured, parent-only injured, and neither parent nor child met criteria for significant injury. The preinjury health and functioning of parents and children were assessed with follow-up at 5 and 12 months.
RESULTS: Parents who were injured themselves showed higher levels of impairment in activities of daily living, quality of life, and depression at both follow-up assessments than parents who were not injured. Children in dyads with both parent and child injured had the highest proportion of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms at both 5 and 12 months. In addition, children with an injured parent but who were not injured themselves were more likely to report PTSD symptoms at 5 months.
CONCLUSIONS: There were bidirectional effects of parental and child injury on the outcomes of each other. Injuries to the parent negatively affected the health-related quality of life of the injured children, over and above the effect of the injury itself on the child. Of great concern is the effect of parental injury on risk of stress and PTSD among uninjured children in the home.
- Accepted April 7, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics