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Recent developments in the child trauma field include preventative interventions that focus on augmenting parental support. However, we have limited knowledge of how parents experience trauma conversations with children. We examined how parents and children experienced both spontaneous trauma conversations and a structured task in which they generated a joint trauma narrative, following the child’s experience of an acute trauma. Parent and child ratings of distress during the structured narrative were low for all 127 families that took part, with child ratings of distress being lower overall than parent ratings. Task-related distress was positively associated with parent and child PTSD symptoms. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with a subset of twenty parents identified both facilitators of (e.g. open and honest relationship with child) and barriers to (e.g. parent/child avoidance of discussion) spontaneous trauma-related conversations with their child. Additionally, parents described the structured trauma narrative task as an opportunity to start the conversation with their child, to understand their child’s feelings, and for the child to process the trauma. However, the task was also uncomfortable or upsetting for some parents/children, and resulted in parents becoming more overprotective. The findings can inform development of low-dose interventions that encourage families to engage in trauma-related conversations following child experiences of trauma.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||European Journal of Psychotraumatology|
|Early online date||29 Jul 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
- post-traumatic stress
- posttraumatic stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
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