Research Reports - Parents traumatic brain injury increases their children's risk for use of psychiatric care

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014 May-Jun;36(3):337-41

Niemelä M(1), Kinnunen L(2), Paananen R(3), Hakko H(2), Merikukka M(3), Karttunen V(4), Gissler M(5), Räsänen S(6)

OBJECTIVE: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) of a parent causes significant changes in
their family life and parent-children relationships. However, the number of
children affected by parental TBI and the long-term consequences for these
children remain unknown. We estimated the prevalence of children affected by
parental TBI and investigated whether these children had greater use of
psychiatric services than their peers.
METHODS: This a retrospective population-based register study. All 60,069
children born in Finland in 1987 were followed up through national health and
social registers from 1987 to 2008.
RESULTS: During the 21-year follow-up, 1532 (2.6%) children had a parent with
TBI. Overall, 22.5% of those having a parent with TBI were treated in specialized
psychiatric care. Use of psychiatric care was significantly increased among those
cohort members with a parent with mild [odds ratio (OR) 1.80, 95% confidence
interval (CI) 1.37-2.38] or severe (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.12-1.98) TBI compared to
their peers.
CONCLUSIONS: Parental TBI is associated with increased use of specialized
psychiatric services by children. Adult health care services must have
appropriate systems in place to address the psychosocial needs and support the
welfare and development of children of patients with TBI.

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