Coping styles of parents of children and adolescents with acquired brain injury in the chronic phase
Eunice J. Prihadi , Femke Dings, Caroline M. van Heugten
Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University , Maastricht, The Netherlands
Objective: To investigate the types of coping strategies used by parents of children with acquired brain injury in the chronic phase and the relationship between their coping styles and psychosocial functioning.
Design: Cross-sectional study (April–May 2013).
Subjects: Parents (n = 42) of 28 children with acquired brain injury (> 6 months post-injury).
Methods: Parents completed the Utrecht Coping List, Life Satisfaction Questionnaire 9, Caregiver Strain Index, and Family Assessment Device.
Results: The use of coping strategies among fathers did not differ from that among men from the standardization population (t14 = 0.96, p = 0.35 and t14 = 0.61, p = 0.55, respectively). However, mothers used more emotion-focused coping strategies than women in the standardization population (t26 = 3.27, p = 0.00), while there was no difference on the problem-focused coping strategies (t26 = –1.75, p = 0.09).
Parents who used emotion-focused coping styles exhibited lower family functioning, higher strain and lower quality of life, while those who used problem-focused coping styles
exhibited higher strain.
Conclusion: Parents of children with acquired brain injury need proper treatment to improve their psychosocial functioning. In particular, treatments should be developed that aim at changing the parents’ maladaptive coping styles into less maladaptive ones. Thus, more attention should be focused on the psychological well-being of parents of children with acquired brain injury in the chronic phase.
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