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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204523 Find in a Library
Title: PTSD Among Bereaved Parents Following the Violent Deaths of Their 12- to 28-Year-Old Children: A Longitudinal Prospective Analysis
Journal: Journal of Traumatic Stress  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:April 1999  Pages:273-291
Author(s): Shirley A, Murphy; Tom Braun; Linda Tillery; Kevin C. Cain; L. Clark Johnson; Randal D. Beaton
Date Published: April 1999
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute for Nursing Research
Bethesda, MD 20892-2178
Grant Number: R01 NR01926
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among parents who have experienced the violent death of a child.
Abstract: Each year approximately 75,000 parents experience the violent death of a child. Despite the fact that 80 percent of all deaths among youth and young adults in the United States are attributed to accidents, suicides, and homicides, no previous research has examined bereavement outcomes among these parents. As such, a 2-year, longitudinal study was conducted with 171 bereaved mothers and 90 fathers who were identified through a review of medical examiner records in order to discover the bereavement outcomes of this group. Data were collected through a battery of survey instruments that measured trauma-related factors, bereaved parent predisposing and coping characteristics, parent outcomes, functional health status, and physical health status. Results of statistical analyses revealed that parents’ gender and children’s causes of death were significantly related to the prevalence of PTSD symptoms. Compared with parents whose children died in accidents or by suicide, parents’ whose children were murdered were twice as likely to meet the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Furthermore, three times as many mothers as fathers met full diagnostic criteria for PTSD 4 months following their children’s deaths. PTSD symptoms of reexperiencing were the most commonly reported, and these symptoms persisted over time, with 21 percent of mothers and 14 percent of fathers meeting full diagnostic criteria for PTSD 2 years following the death of their children. Parents who met the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD were significantly different on multiple study variables from parents who did not meet full diagnostic criteria. Future studies are needed to discover the long-term effects of mental distress. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Homicide victims; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD)
Index Term(s): Death and dying; Longitudinal studies; Mental health
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