Associations Between Parental PTSD Cluster Symptoms and Child Behavior

Date

2024

Authors

Martinez, Anneliese

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Abstract

A parent's mental health has a substantial impact on the child's well-being and behavioral conduct. Parental PTSD, for example, has been associated with elevations in both internalizing and externalizing problems in children. However, it is unclear whether distinct PTSD symptom clusters have unique impacts on the child's internalizing and externalizing outcomes. The objective of this study was to explore whether certain parental PTSD symptom clusters, as defined in the DSM 5-TR, are associated with the occurrence of child internalizing or externalizing behaviors. Multiple regression analysis was conducted using a sample of parents (n = 126) who have substance using adolescents (age 12-18). Consistent with our hypotheses, results found that higher levels of Negative Alterations in Cognitions and Mood was uniquely associated with higher child internalizing behaviors, whereas higher levels of Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity was uniquely associated with higher child externalizing. The other symptom clusters of PTSD did not show significant correlations with either internalizing or externalizing outcomes. These findings may add to existing literature in understanding the impact of specific symptom clusters in parental PTSD on adolescent outcomes. Findings may also have clinical implications for family-based or parenting-based treatments for adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems.

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Keywords

PTSD., Post-traumatic stress disorder., Child Behavior., Internalizing behaviors., Externalizing behaviors., Substance Abuse., Parenting., Psychology.

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