Monday, March 26, 2012

The Effect of Parental Behavior on Trauma Recovery



In a study in Poland:
"Parental overprotectiveness moderated the effect of trauma, thus augmenting the impact of stress experienced during the disaster on the level of PTSD symptoms.

The findings suggest that excessive parental control and infantilization of children for a long time after a disaster are harmful for adolescents' health and could be an obstacle in the recovery process.

Parental overprotectiveness could be conceptualized as another manifestation of liabilities of parental social support because it involves excessive and unnecessary parental protection that is uncalled for given the child's developmental age.  In a review of the literature, Holmbeck et al., (2002) characterized parental overprotectiveness as a tendency for infantilization, toward excessive physical and social contact with a child, extreme fear associated with the fulfilling of parental functions, unwarranted control, intrusiveness, and continuous attempts at impeding the child's independence."
"An additional family factor that might moderate the relationship between trauma exposure and PTSD symtomatology may be the level of conflict within the family.  A home atmosphere with arguments and conflicts may be perceived by adolescents, who are disaster victims, as an indication of lack of family support.  Research on negative responses of support providers, such as engaging in arguments, blaming or showing disinterest responses at times referred to as 'negative social support,' strongly documented their potential to impede recovery from all traumas."
Bokszczanin, A. (2008).  Parental support, family conflict, and overprotectiveness:  Predicting PTSD symptom levels of adolescents 28 months after a natural disaster.  Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 21(4), 325-335.

Infantilizing anyone, besides an infant, is disempowering - not good.

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