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Effects of parents' experiential avoidance and PTSD on adolescent disaster-related posttraumatic stress symptomatology.

Polusny MA, Ries BJ, Meis LA, DeGarmo D, McCormick-Deaton CM, Thuras P, Erbes CR. Effects of parents' experiential avoidance and PTSD on adolescent disaster-related posttraumatic stress symptomatology. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43). 2011 Apr 1; 25(2):220-9.

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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.

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