Comparative Effectiveness of Parent-Based Interventions to Support Injured Children.

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DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-046920


OBJECTIVES: A comparative effectiveness trial tested 2 parent-based interventions in improving the psychosocial recovery of hospitalized injured children: (1) Link for Injured Kids (Link), a program of psychological first aid in which parents are taught motivational interviewing and stress-screening skills, and (2) Trauma Education, based on an informational booklet about trauma and its impacts and resources.

METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 4 children's hospitals in the Midwestern United States. Children aged 10 to 17 years admitted for an unintentional injury and a parent were recruited and randomly assigned to Link or Trauma Education. Parents and children completed questionnaires at baseline, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months posthospitalization. Using an intent-to-treat analysis, changes in child-reported posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, quality of life, and child behaviors were compared between intervention groups.

RESULTS: Of 795 injured children, 314 children and their parents were enrolled into the study (40%). Link and Trauma Education was associated with improved symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, and pediatric quality of life at similar rates over time. However, unlike those in Trauma Education, children in the Link group had notable improvement of child emotional behaviors and mild improvement of conduct and peer behaviors. Compared with Trauma Education, Link was also associated with improved peer behaviors in rural children.

CONCLUSION: Although children in both programs had reduced posttrauma symptoms over time, Link children, whose parents were trained in communication and referral skills, exhibited a greater reduction in problem behaviors.

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