The Impact of Trauma Exposure on Parenting Stress in Rural America

Ginny Sprang, Michele Staton-Tindall, Brian Gustman, Benjamin Freer, James J. Clark, Holly Dye, Kelsey Sprang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study investigates trauma exposure as a risk factor for increased parenting stress, controlling for social support utilization and specific caregiver characteristics. Interviews were conducted with 190 caregivers of children ages 3 to 12 in rural Appalachia to determine the prevalence and type of trauma exposure using a trauma detail form, and parenting stress as measured by the Parenting Stress Inventory. Half of the participants reported lifetime exposure to trauma, and 44% reported 3 or more exposures. A similar trend was noted for children with 73% of caregivers reporting more than one child exposure. Logistic regression revealed trauma exposure alone, as compared to trauma related disorder, predicted greater parenting distress; parent's perception of their child as difficult; and increased risk for dysfunctional parent-child relationships. Identifying individual trauma exposure as a family risk factor provides an opportunity for early intervention, and can help indicate relational models of care that are most appropriate for trauma-exposed parents and children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • parent-child relationships
  • parenting stress
  • social support
  • trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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