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Moderate and severe pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are associated with significant familial distress and child adaptive sequelae. Our aim was to examine the relationship between parental psychological distress, parenting practices (authoritarian, permissive, authoritative), and child adaptive functioning 12–36 months following TBI or orthopedic injury (OI). Injury type was hypothesized to moderate the relationship between parental distress and child adaptive functioning, demonstrating a significantly stronger relationship in the TBI relative to OI group. Authoritarian parenting practices were hypothesized to mediate relationship between parental distress and child adaptive functioning across groups. Groups (TBI n=21, OI n=23) did not differ significantly on age at injury, time since injury, sex, race, or SES. Parents completed the Brief Symptom Inventory, Parenting Practices Questionnaire, and Vineland-II. Moderation and mediation hypotheses were tested using hierarchical multiple regression and a bootstrapping approach, respectively. Results supported moderation and revealed that higher parental psychological distress was associated with lower child adaptive functioning in the TBI group only. Mediation results indicated that higher parental distress was associated with authoritarian parenting practices and lower adaptive functioning across groups. Results suggest that parenting practices are an important area of focus for studies attempting to elucidate the relationship between parent and child functioning following TBI.


This article was originally published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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