Research Reports - Maternal and paternal distress and coping over time following pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Pediatr Psychol. 2017 Apr 1;42(3):304-314. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw079.

Narad ME(1), Yeates KO(2), Taylor HG(3), Stancin T(4), Wade SL(1).

Objective: Examine differences in maternal and paternal coping and distress
following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and orthopedic injuries (OI).
Method: Concurrent cohort/prospective design with five assessments between 1 and
an average of 7 years after injury of children aged 3-6 years hospitalized for
TBI ( n  = 87) or OI ( n  = 119). Mixed models analyses were used to examine
hypotheses.
Results: Overall, fathers reported greater depression and general distress than
mothers 18 months after injury, but not at long-term follow-up. Active and
acceptance coping were unrelated to parental sex, injury factors, or time since
injury. A group × rater × time interaction was noted for Denial coping. Following
severe TBI, fathers reported greater denial at 18 months, whereas mothers
reported greater denial at the long-term follow-up. Denial coping did not differ
between mothers and fathers following OI and moderate TBI.
Conclusions: Parental response to early TBI is complex and may warrant clinical
intervention even years after injury. 

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