Perceived parenting change and child posttraumatic stress following a natural disaster

Cobham, Vanessa E., and McDermott, Brett (2014) Perceived parenting change and child posttraumatic stress following a natural disaster. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 24 (1). pp. 18-23.

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Objective: Recent research suggests that not only parental psychopathology, but also parenting practices, have a role to play in the development of child post traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) following a natural disaster. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between parents' perceptions of their parenting in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and child PTSS.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to explore the associations among child PTSS, parents' perceptions of altered (more anxious) parenting, and parental disaster-related distress (altered cognitions and behaviors) in 874 elementary school children (ages 8-12 years) and their parents following a severe storm of cyclonic proportions. With parental consent, school-based screening was conducted in impacted communities 3 months after the storm. Children completed a screening questionnaire consisting of the Child Trauma Screening Questionnaire (CTSQ; used for identifying children at risk for post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), as well as a range of questions assessing disaster exposure and threat perception. Parents completed questions relating to their perceptions of changes in their parenting since the storm, as well as two items relating to their own disaster-related distress.

Results: Independent of other significant associations with child PTSS (such as age, gender, and disaster exposure), a high level of parent-perceived altered parenting appeared to put children at increased risk for PTSS 3 months after the disaster. However, when the sample was stratified for the presence or absence of altered parent cognitions and behaviors following the storm, altered parenting was found to have a unique relationship with child PTSS only when parents reported altered disaster-related cognitions and behaviors.

Conclusions: When parents report disaster-related cognitions and behaviors, their perception of altered parenting practices (becoming more protective, less granting of autonomy, and communicating a sense of current danger) is associated with child PTSS. Although it is not possible to draw conclusions about the direction of these relationships, this study identifies parenting practices that may constitute important targets for intervention.

Item ID: 44535
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1557-8992
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 23:36
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 50%
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