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Impact of Prior Traumatic Life Events on Parental Early Stage Reactions following a Child's Cancer
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institute .
2013 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 3, e57556- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: In pediatric oncology, effective clinic-based management of acute and long-term distress in families calls for investigation of determinants of parents' psychological response to the child's cancer. We examined the relationship between parents' prior exposure to traumatic life events (TLE) and the occurrence of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) following their child's cancer diagnosis. Factors mediating the TLE-PTSS relationship were analyzed. Methodology: The study comprised 169 parents (97 mothers, 72 fathers) of 103 cancer diagnosed children (median age: 5,9 years; range 0.1-19.7 years). Thirty five parents were of immigrant origin (20.7%). Prior TLE were collated using a standardized questionnaire, PTSS was assessed using the Impact of Events-Revised (IES-R) questionnaire covering intrusion, avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms. The predictive significance of prior TLE on PTSS was tested in adjusted regression models. Results: Mothers demonstrated more severe PTSS across all symptom dimensions. TLE were associated with significantly increased hyperarousal symptoms. Parents' gender, age and immigrant status did not significantly influence the TLE-PTSS relationship. Conclusions: Prior traumatic life-events aggravate posttraumatic hyperarousal symptoms. In clinic-based psychological care of parents of high-risk pediatric patients, attention needs to be paid to life history, and to heightened vulnerability to PTSS associated with female gender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 8, no 3, e57556- p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89719DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057556ISI: 000316407400009OAI: diva2:620214


Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-05-06 Last updated: 2013-05-08Bibliographically approved

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