Agreement of Parent and Child Reports of Trauma Exposure Impact and Symptoms in the Early Aftermath of Trauma

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Exposure to violence and potentially traumatic events (PTE) is a common experience among children and youth. The assessment of necessary intervention relies upon parental acknowledgement of exposure and recognition of their child’s distress. Early interventions and treatment are most effective when parents are aware of the nature of the traumatic exposure, understand their child’s symptomatic response, and are intimately involved in the treatment process. The present study investigated concordance between parents and exposed children on child trauma history, the subjective report of the impact of the traumas experienced, and presence of PTSD symptoms. Agreement between parent and child report of traumas experienced was non-significant for serious accidents, separation from significant others, and physical assaults. Non-significant agreement was also found for avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD. Correlations were not significant between parent and child report of the impact of traumas both at the time of the incident and at the time of the interview. Recommendations are suggested for helping parents improve their capacity to understand the potential impact of exposure on the child’s psychological functioning.

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Psychological Trauma: Theory Research Practice and Policy, v. 2, issue 3, p. 159–168