Injury talk: spontaneous parent–child conversations in the aftermath of a potentially traumatic event
Babl, Franz E
Mehl, Matthias R
AffiliationDepartment of Psychology, University of Arizona
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherBMJ PUBLISHING GROUP
CitationInjury talk: spontaneous parent–child conversations in the aftermath of a potentially traumatic event 2017, 20 (4):e19 Evidence Based Mental Health
JournalEvidence Based Mental Health
Rights© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
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AbstractBackground: While talking about traumatic experiences is considered central to psychological recovery, little is known about how these conversations occur in daily life. Objective: We investigated spontaneous injury talk among parents and children in the aftermath of a child's hospitalisation due to physical trauma, and its relationship with children's socioemotional functioning. Methods In a prospective naturalistic observation study, we audio-sampled the daily life of 71 families with the Electronically Activated Recorder after their child (3-16 years old) was discharged from hospital. We collected close to 20 000 snippets of audio information, which were double-coded for conversation characteristics, and measured children's socioemotional functioning with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) at 6 weeks and 3 months postinjury. Findings The children were involved in injury talk for, on average, 46 min/day, 9 min of which referred to emotions. Children had significantly more injury conversations with their mothers than with their fathers. The tone of injury conversations was significantly more positive than that of non-injury conversations. More direct injury talk was associated with fewer problems on the emotion subscale of the SDQ at 3 months. Other associations between aspects of injury talk and children's socioemotional functioning were mostly non-significant, although they appeared to be stronger at 3 months than at 6 weeks. Conclusions Families spontaneously talked about the injury and associated issues for about the same amount of time per day as a therapist might within a session (a 'therapy hour'). Clinical implications Making full use of naturally occurring injury talk may be a valuable direction for parent and family-focused post-injury interventions. However, the study design prevents causal inference, and further exploration is warranted.
NotePublished Open Access.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNetherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Rubicon Fellowship) [446-11-021]; National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia ; Monash University (Larkins program); Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship; Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program; Royal Children's Hospital Foundation, Melbourne