Investigate mothers' mental health, mother-child relationship, and family functioning 3 months after preschool children's head trauma and hospital discharge.Design
Seven hospitals; families' homes.Participants
Eighty mothers of children (ages 3–6) with head trauma.Measures
Perceived injury severity, Mental Health Inventory, Parental Stressor Scale taken in pediatric intensive care unit 24 to 48 hours after admission; Mental Health Inventory, Parenting Stress Index, FACES II, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support taken at 3 months postdischarge.Results
Injury severity had negative effects on mothers' mental health at 3 months after discharge, but not on the mother-child relationship and the family's functioning. Mothers' baseline mental health and ongoing support had positive effects on mother-child relationship and family adaptability.Conclusions
Mothers with greater stress and poorer mental health during their child's hospitalization may be at risk for negative mother-child and family outcomes. Interventions that decrease parents' stress during hospitalization and promote ongoing social support after discharge may diminish this risk.