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The effects of parental injury on the care and outcome of injured children

Final Report

The effects of parental injury on the care and outcome of injured children Final Report (PDF)


  • Women/Maternal
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)


30 million people are injured each year in the United States and nearly 3 million are hospitalized, with the peak rate of injury occurring in young adults.1 Approximately 10% of these are children and many of the injured adults have minor children and adolescents living with them at home. While the effects of injury on its victims are broad, encompassing physical, emotional, and financial consequences, little is known about the immediate and longer-term effects of injury to parents on their children, especially on the recovery of injured children. The long term goals of this project are to improve the coordination of the care of injured children and to improve the long term recovery from pediatric trauma. The specific objectives of the project are to: (1) determine the extent that acute care of the injured child is not coordinated with that of other family members injured in the same event; (2) determine the extent to which longer-term care of injured children is integrated into the child's medical home; (3) determine how acute and longer-term effects of injury to a parent affect the emotional and physical recovery of the injured child and functioning of the family. We propose to conduct a large prospective cohort study at one of the largest Level I trauma centers in the United States. Families involved in a motor vehicle crash and who receive EMS care will be identified during the acute trauma phase of care for the injured patient at the Level I trauma center. In Objective 1, we will determine the family members involved in the crash, and the sites of care to which they have been triaged. We will examine how this varies by characteristics of the crash, location of the crash, and types and severity of the injuries. For Objective 2, we will determine the extent of communication with the child's medical home and the degree to which the medical home serves as the appropriate coordinating role in the follow-up care of the injured child. In Objective 3, we will examine how the effects of the injury to a parent modifies and interacts with the child's injury as well as pre-existing family functioning to affect the child's recovery from trauma. In this objective, baseline data will be collected on the parent, child, and family pre-injury functioning. Follow-up information will be collected at 5 and 12 months following injury. The information collected will be widely disseminated, will form the basis for intervention, and will be used to change trauma care policy. This project addresses two MCHB Strategic Research Issues: Strategic Issue #III: Service and Systems to assure quality of care for MCH populations; and Strategic Research Issue #IV. Promoting the healthy development of MCH populations.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Rivara FP, McCarty CA, Shandro J, Wang J, Zatzick D. Parental injury and psychological health of children. Pediatrics. 2014;134(1):e88-e97.

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