Brain Inj. 2022 Aug 10:1-9. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2022.2110283. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To create a conceptual framework that classifies the various stresses parents experience following their child’s concussion.
METHODS: Twelve parents of children with concussion completed a semi-structured interview with the lead author. Questions broadly focused on post-concussion stress, with specific probes for caregiving responsibilities, concussion knowledge, and athletic participation. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Ten mothers and 2 fathers participated. Five themes stemmed from our analysis: 1) Concussion Knowledge (central theme): stressors related to sources of concussion information; 2) Child Health Factors: stressors related to injury and illness, including concussion; 3) Activity Factors: stressors related to academic and athletic performance; 4) Parent-Injured Child Relationship Factors: stressors related to providing care to the child; and 5) Personal Factors: stressors unrelated to the concussion (e.g. family, social, career, etc.). Child Health Factors was most frequently identified as the primary stressor (n = 9).
CONCLUSIONS: Sources of parental stress were varied following pediatric concussion. Issues relating to the child’s post-injury dysfunction and the uncertain recovery from concussion were key stressors identified by parents. Moving forward, this framework can be used to ground the development of specific parental stress screening tools and interventions, which may benefit the parent’s mental health and the child’s clinical recovery.
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