Child and family factors associated with posttraumatic stress responses following a traumatic medical event: The role of medical team support

Yaara Sadeh, Rachel Dekel, Amichai Brezner, Jana Landa, Tamar Silberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study examined the contribution of pretrauma psychosocial factors (child emotional functioning, family resources, family functioning, and social support) and environmental factors (mother's posttraumatic stress symptoms [PTSSs], medical team support [MTS]) to PTSSs of injured or seriously ill children within a pediatric rehabilitation setting. It was hypothesized that psychosocial variables would be strongly associated with child's PTSS; that mother's PTSS and MTS would mediate the association between psychosocial factors and child's PTSS; that mother's report on child's PTSS would mediate the association between mother's PTSS and child's PTSS. Methods: Participants were 196 children hospitalized following an injury/illness and assessed M=47.7 days postevent. Children completed measures of PTSS, mothers completed measures of their own PTSS, child's PTSS, and pretrauma psychosocial factors. Family's therapist completed a MTS measure. Structural equation modeling was employed to evaluate the study hypotheses. Results: Pretrauma family structure and resources were associated with child's self-reported PTSS; each pretrauma variable and mother's report of child's PTSS was significantly associated. Although mother's PTSS was not directly associated with child's PTSS, this relationship was mediated by mother's report of child's PTSS. MTS mediated the relationship between pretrauma social support and mother's PTSS. Conclusion: This study further explicates the utility of a biopsychosocial framework in predicting childhood PTSS. Findings confirm the role of pretrauma factors and environmental factors at the peritrauma period in the development of PTSS following a pediatric injury/illness. Mother's PTSS and MTS may be appropriate targets for prevention and early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1073
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Accidents and injuries
  • Chronic illness
  • Parent stress
  • Parenting
  • Posttraumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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