Prevalence and Relationships of Posttraumatic Stress in Families Experiencing Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury

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ABSTRACT.Objective:To investigate the severity of posttraumatic stress (PTS) and the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in individuals with pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) and their parents and to assess relationships among family members' degree of PTS and PTSD diagnoses.Study Design:Cross-sectional mail survey.Setting:A pediatric orthopedic surgical and rehabilitation hospital.Participants:A volunteer sample of 64 pediatric SCI patients (59% male and 41% female), 64 mothers, and 49 fathers.Main Outcome Measures:The Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale was used for parents and for patients more than 18 years of age and the Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale was used for patients 18 years of age and under.Results:Sixteen (25.4%) patients, 25 (41%) mothers, and 16 (35.6%) fathers reported current PTSD. Mothers' total PTS scores statistically predicted patients' and fathers' PTS scores, and patients' PTS scores statistically predicted mothers' PTS scores. In addition, mothers' and patients' PTSD diagnoses related significantly.Conclusions:PTSD may be among the most prevalent psychological comorbidities in families experiencing pediatric SCI. Screening and treatment for PTSD appear warranted as part of standard psychosocial care for these families.

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