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Anxiety Stress Coping. 2008 Oct;21(4):325-35. doi: 10.1080/10615800801950584.

Parental support, family conflict, and overprotectiveness: predicting PTSD symptom levels of adolescents 28 months after a natural disaster.

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Department of Psychology, Opole University, Poland.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of family factors as predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among adolescents, a substantial period of time after a natural disaster. It was hypothesized that a lack of parental support, family conflict, and overprotectiveness are all risk factors with regard to levels of PTSD symptoms. A group of 533 schoolchildren and high-school students was investigated 28 months after a huge flood, which was one of the most devastating disasters in Poland. The results of a hierarchical regression analysis indicate that the extent of traumatic exposure, parental support, family conflict, and overprotectiveness, all predicted levels of PTSD symptoms in the group investigated. Furthermore, parental overprotectiveness moderated the effect of trauma, thus augmenting the impact of stress experienced during the disaster on the level of PTSD symptoms. The findings suggest that excessive parental control and infantilization of children for a long time after a disaster are harmful for adolescents' health and could be an obstacle in the recovery process. The results highlight the importance of studying parental ways of coping in order to predict how adolescents cope with a traumatic event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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