Primary objectives: to assess parental stress following paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and examine the relationship between self-reported problems and parental stress and general health. Research design: controlled interview study Methods and procedures: Parents of ninety-seven children admitted with a TBI (49 mild, 19 moderate, 29 severe) were identified from a case register of all paediatric admissions from 1992-1998. Parents of 31 uninjured children acted as controls. Structured interviews were carried out with families, and parents assessed on the Parenting Stress Index (PSI/SF) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) at recruitment, and repeated 12 months later. Main outcomes and results: regardless of injury severity, parents of injured children suffered greater stress than control parents as measured by the PSI/SF (p = 0.001). There was a highly significant relationship between number of problems reported and level of parental stress (p = 0.001). Financial burden was related to severity of TBI. Conclusions: improved information, follow-up, and support is likely to reduce parental stress and family burden.
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