Threat, Pressure, and Communication About Concussion Safety: Implications for Parent Concussion Education

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Abstract

Background. Parental communication about the importance of reporting concussion symptoms can influence a child’s attitudes about such reporting, and is likely related to perceived threat of concussion. However, parental investment in child sport achievement might impede this communication. Purpose. To examine the relationship between perceived threat of concussion and parent–child communication regarding concussion symptom reporting, and the potential interaction with parental pressure regarding child sport achievement. Method. A total of 236 parents of youth soccer players completed an anonymous online survey. Results. There were greater odds of encouraging concussion reporting among parents who perceived that their child had a greater likelihood of sustaining a concussion (OR = 1.03, 95% CI [1.01, 1.04]) and lower odds among parents who exhibited greater parental sport pressure (OR = 0.88, 95% CI [0.78, 0.99]). Parents whose child had a prior concussion were much more likely to communicate with their child about concussion reporting (OR = 7.86, 95% CI [3.00, 20.55]). Conclusion. Initiatives are needed to support healthy sport parenting, particularly focusing on parental encouragement of concussion reporting. Possible directions for concussion education for parents based on the results of this study include providing parents with concrete guidance about the important role they can play in encouraging their child to report symptoms of a concussion, communicating the athletic consequences of continued sport involvement while experiencing symptoms of a concussion, and using narrative messaging with exemplars to personalize the information for parents of youth who have not previously sustained a concussion.

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