Date of Award

6-18-2009

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Tricia Z. King, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Chris Henrich, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kathleen O'Toole, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Erin Tone, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Frank Floyd, Ph.D.

Abstract

Moderate and severe pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are associated with significant familial stress and child cognitive and adaptive sequelae (Taylor et al., 1999). Research has demonstrated a relationship between familial stress and resources and child recovery of functioning following TBI (Taylor et al., 1999). We built on these findings by examining authoritarian parenting values and styles as a mediator of the relationship between parental stress and child adaptive outcomes 12-36 months following TBI or orthopedic injury (ORTHO). Participants were 21 children/adolescents with traumatic brain injuries and 23 with orthopedic injuries and one of their parents/guardians. Parents completed measures of demographics, parental stress, parenting values and styles, and child adaptive functioning. Child participants completed brief demographic questionnaires and intelligence screeners. Moderation was examined using hierarchical multiple regression. Mediation and moderated mediation were examined using bootstrapping tests of the indirect effect of parental stress on child adaptive functioning. After controlling for family insurance status, higher levels of parental stress were associated with reduced child adaptive functioning in the TBI group but not the ORTHO group. An examination of the mediational analyses revealed that higher levels of parental stress were associated with a greater reliance on authoritarian parenting styles, which was associated with reduced overall adaptive functioning and daily living skills across the two injury groups. Therefore, across groups, the relationship between parental stress and child overall adaptive functioning and daily living skills was found to be partially mediated by an authoritarian parenting style. Moderated mediation results revealed the presence of a significant interaction and 95% confidence interval on the socialization domain and indicated that the relationship between authoritarian parenting styles and child adaptive social skills differed significantly between the two groups. Our findings suggest a relationship between parental stress, authoritarian parenting styles, and child adaptive functioning in the 12-36 months following pediatric traumatic injury. Future research should explore the association among these, as well as other potentially mediating variables, both within and between the two groups with the goal of further elucidating the relationship between familial/environmental variables and child adaptive functioning following traumatic brain and orthopedic injury.

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