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Prevalence and Correlates of Posttraumatic Stress in Parents of Young Children Postburn

Odar, Cathleen MA*; Kirschman, Keri J. Brown PhD*; Pelley, Terri J. MA*; Butz, Catherine PhD; Besner, Gail E. MD; Fabia, Renata B. MD, PhD

Journal of Burn Care & Research: May/June 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 299–306
doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31825ae15d
Original Articles

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in the parents of very young children who sustained a minor to moderate size burn injury. Although prior research has explored this relationship in families of children with major burns, only minimal research has focused on children with minor to moderate injuries. Forty-five parents of young children (<6 years) with a burn injury (mean TBSA = 2.67%, SD = 2.40) completed questionnaires regarding PTSS and demographics at an outpatient burn clinic. Injury-related information was collected from medical records. Parents reported clinically significant levels of PTSS, although in most cases, full diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder were not met. The amount of distress was related to the age of the child at burn, child PTSS, and the source of burn. Variables such as size of burn, days spent as inpatient, or parental presence at the time of burn were not found to be related to parental distress. PTSS assessment should be made mandatory for all parents of young children experiencing a burn injury, regardless of size and severity of burn or parental presence at the time of burn.

From the *Department of Psychology, University of Dayton; and the Departments of Psychology and Pediatric Surgery, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Cathleen Odar, MA, is currently at the University of Kansas, Clinical Child Psychology Program, Lawrence, Kansas, and Terri Pelley, MA, is at the University of Cincinnati, Department of Psychology, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence to Cathleen Odar, MA, University of Kansas, Clinical Child Psychology Program, 2010 Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66045.

© 2013 The American Burn Association