Parents of Young Stroke Victims at Risk for PTSD

HealthDay News — Parents of children who suffer a stroke are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a small study suggests.

The research included 10 fathers and 23 mothers of children and teens who had suffered a stroke, as well as nine stroke patients between the ages of 7 and 18.

The researchers found that 55% of the parents met at least one of the PTSD criteria and 24% met all the criteria. PTSD was not seen in any of young stroke patients, but 22% of them had clinically significant levels of anxiety.

“Our concern is that PTSD in parents of a child with stroke or pediatric stroke patients experiencing anxiety may have a harder time complying with therapy, which could affect health outcomes of the child,” lead researcher Laura Lehman, MD, a neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in an American Stroke Association news release.

“The data are preliminary, but we could use this information to screen families for potential PTSD and emotional problems after stroke, so that we can plan more targeted interventions, such as support groups, and determine who is at risk. We want to ensure that PTSD or other emotional problems do not interfere with the child’s recovery,” Lehman said.

The study was presented at the American Stroke Association’s annual meeting in Nashville. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

PTSD has been noted among parents of critically ill children, but this is the first study to look at PTSD risk in the parents of young stroke patients, the researchers added.


American Stroke Association. Parents experience post-traumatic stress disorder after child’s stroke. News Release. February 12, 2015.