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J Crit Care. 2018 Jun;45:149-155. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2018.02.006. Epub 2018 Feb 16.

Prediction of parental posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depression after a child's critical hospitalization.

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European University of Madrid, School of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Psychology, Spain. Electronic address:
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, School of Psychology, Department of Biological and Health Psychology, Spain. Electronic address:
St George's University Hospital NHS Trust, UK. Electronic address:



To study the role of parental resilience, emotions accessed during admission and perceived stress in predicting the degree of parental posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression symptoms after a child's treatment in intensive care.


This was prospective longitudinal cohort study. A total of 196 parents of pediatric intensive care survivors completed questionnaires assessing resilience, perceived stress, emotions experienced during admission, 48h post-discharge (T0). Sociodemographic and medical data were also collected. Main outcomes were anxiety, depression and PTSD, three (T1) and six (T2) months later.


At T2, 23% of parents reported clinically significant levels of symptoms of PTSD, 21% reported moderate-severe anxiety, and 9% reported moderate-severe depression. These rates were not statistically different to rates at T1. Path analyses indicated that 47% of the variance in psychopathology symptoms at T2 could be predicted from the variables assessed at T0. Resilience was a strong negative predictor of psychopathology symptoms, but this effect was mostly indirect, mediated by the stress that parents perceive during their child's critical hospitalization.


Mobilizing coping in order to maintain resilience and to decrease their perceived stress levels could improve parents' mental health outcomes following their child's intensive care treatment.


Anxiety; Depression; Longitudinal; Parents; Pediatric intensive care; Posttraumatic stress


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