Bakker, Anne, van Loey, Nancy E.E., van der Heijden, Peter G.M. and van Son, Maarten J.M.
Acute stress reactions in couples after a burn event to their young child
Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37, (10), . (doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jss083). (PMID:22836747).
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OBJECTIVE: This multicenter study examines acute stress reactions in couples following a burn event to their preschool child.
METHODS: Participants were 182 mothers and 154 fathers, including 143 couples, of 193 children (0-4 years) with acute burns. Parents' self-reported acute stress reactions and emotions regarding the burn event were measured within the first month postburn.
RESULTS: More mothers than fathers reported clinically significant acute stress reactions. Multilevel analysis revealed that individual parent reactions were associated with parent gender and negative emotions about the burn event. Interestingly, avoidance symptoms overlapped to an important extent within couples, whereas intrusion symptoms were mainly intra-individual. Burn characteristics, such as burn size, contributed to acute stress within couples.
CONCLUSIONS: Mothers and fathers are seriously affected by their child's burn trauma and share a part of their acute stress reactions. These results emphasize the importance of a family-based approach to support adjustment after pediatric medical trauma.
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