The Role of Youth Coping Strategies and Caregiver Psychopathology in Predicting Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Pediatric Burn Survivors.

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DOI: 10.1093/jbcr/irz067


Caregiver psychosocial functioning is repeatedly linked with postburn adjustment in pediatric burn survivors. However, few studies have examined youth characteristics as predictors, such as coping strategies. Furthermore, research has not explored how caregiver psychopathology and youth coping strategies interact to predict youth postburn adjustment. The aim of this study was to examine how youth coping strategies and caregiver anxiety and depression predict youth posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Forty-six youth between 7 and 17 years old (M = 12.5, SD = 2.65) and their caregivers were recruited from two U.S. burn centers. Youth and parents completed questionnaires that assessed demographics, caregiver anxiety, and depression, youth self-reports of coping strategies, and youth PTSS. Burn injury data (e.g. TBSA, time since injury) was obtained from medical record reviews. Hierarchical regressions were conducted with caregiver psychopathology (depression, anxiety), youth coping strategies (active, avoidant, distraction, social support), and the interaction between caregiver psychopathology and youth coping strategies as predictors and youth PTSS as the outcome variable. Higher levels of caregiver anxiety (βs = .36 to .42) and avoidance coping (βs = .38 to .43) were associated with more PTSS. Caregiver anxiety and depression moderated the association between youth use of distraction coping and youth PTSS. These findings reinforce the importance of assessing psychosocial functioning in pediatric burn survivors and their caregivers, and providing interventions to promote better psychosocial outcomes. Coping strategies may help reduce PTSS and buffer against the harmful influence of caregiver psychopathology. Future research may wish to pilot interventions that promote healthy coping.

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J Burn Care Res





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