Effects of Parents' Experiential Avoidance and PTSD on Adolescent Disaster-Related Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology

Melissa A. Polusny, Barry J. Ries, Laura A. Meis, David DeGarmo, Catherine M. McCormick-Deaton, Paul Thuras, Christopher R. Erbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the importance of family context to adolescents' reactions following disaster, little research has examined the role of parents' functioning on adolescents' disaster-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Using data from 288 adolescents (ages 12 to 19 years) and 288 parents exposed to a series of severe tornadoes in a rural Midwestern community, this study tested a conceptual model of the interrelationships between individual and parental risk factors on adolescents' disaster-related PTSD symptoms using structural equation modeling. Results showed that the psychological process of experiential avoidance mediated the relationship between family disaster exposure and PTSD for both adolescents and their parents. Parents' PTSD symptoms independently predicted adolescents' PTSD symptoms. Further, parents' postdisaster functioning amplified the effects of adolescent experiential avoidance on adolescents' disaster-related PTSD symptoms. Findings highlight the importance of family context in understanding adolescents' postdisaster reactions. Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Disaster
  • Experiential avoidance
  • Parents
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

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