Long-term impact of maternal posttraumatic symptoms on children’s regulatory functioning: A four-year follow-up study.

Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, Osnat Zamir, Aviva Yochman, Miriam Schiff, Sophie Brickman, Moriah Lerner, Danny Brom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The interrelation between exposure to trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and regulatory functioning in children is gaining increasing attention. This study examines the effects of maternal posttraumatic symptoms (PTS) on child deficits in sensory regulation, behavior regulation, and executive functioning. Method: The sample at the first measurement (2011, T1) included 382 Israeli mothers and their young children (child’s mean age = 3.89 years; SD = 1.26), and 240 of them were reassessed after 4 years (2015, T2). Mothers self-reported their trauma exposure and posttraumatic distress symptoms (PTSD) and filled out questionnaires on their children’s sensory regulation (new version of the Short Sensory Profile including sensory processing and behavior regulation as well as their level of executive functioning (Dysexecutive Questionnaire). Results: A path model showed that maternal PTS at T1 predicted maternal PTS at T2, which in turn was associated with problems in their children’s sensory regulation, behavior regulation, and their level of executive functioning. These results highlight the relationship between mother’s posttraumatic distress and her child’s regulatory functioning. Conclusions: The study supports the construct of relational PTSD and broadens it to additional aspects of children’s deficits in sensory regulation, behavior regulation, and executive functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved) Clinical Impact Statement—Our findings highlight the important link between mother’s posttraumatic distress and her child’s self-regulation deficits and broaden the construct of relational PTSD to additional aspects of children’s difficulties in sensory and behavior regulation and in executive functioning beyond symptoms of PTSD. Clinical assessment of sensory processing and executive functioning should be incorporated into the routine evaluation of young children exposed to traumatic events and integrated into intervention programs for traumatized children and parents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • executive functioning
  • mothers
  • posttraumatic distress
  • sensory regulation
  • young children

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term impact of maternal posttraumatic symptoms on children’s regulatory functioning: A four-year follow-up study.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this