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Exploring the perceived impact of parental PTSD on parents and parenting behaviours – a qualitative study

Christie, Hope, Hamilton-Giachritsis, Catherine, McGuire, Rosie, Bisson, Jonathan ORCID:, Roberts, Neil P., Underwood, Jack ORCID: and Halligan, Sarah 2023. Exploring the perceived impact of parental PTSD on parents and parenting behaviours – a qualitative study. Journal of Child and Family Studies 32 , pp. 3378-3388. 10.1007/s10826-023-02614-z

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A considerable number of adults who are currently living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also parents caring for at least one biological child. Evidence suggests that parental PTSD can be associated with impairments to certain parenting behaviours, particularly increasing the use of more negative practices. However, most of the evidence to date has been collected using quantitative methodology, which gives limited insight into why such effects might occur. The current study qualitatively explored study the lived experiences of parents currently living with PTSD, within the United Kingdom. Interviews were conducted with 30 parents (16 mothers, 14 fathers) who were recruited via a PTSD research registry, and who had children living at home under the age of 18 years at the time they experienced their trauma. Three main themes were identified: key impacts of the trauma to the parent personally; negative changes to specific parenting outcomes; impact of these parenting changes on the parent’s sense of parental efficacy; and recovery and coping. These findings provide novel insight into the experiences of both mothers and fathers with PTSD, and highlight the multiple challenges faced by parents living with PTSD that extend beyond impairments to themselves as individuals. Potential implications for the implementation of effective support for parents and their families following trauma exposure are considered.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1062-1024
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 12 June 2023
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 12:38

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