The role of appraisals and coping in predicting posttraumatic stress following pediatric injury

Meghan L. Marsac, Jeffrey Ciesla, Lamia P. Barakat, Aimee K. Hildenbrand, Douglas L. Delahanty, Keith Widaman, Flaura K. Winston, Nancy Kassam-Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Given the millions of children who experience potentially traumatic injuries each year and the need to maximize emotional and physical health outcomes following pediatric injury, the current study examined the individual and collective contributions of the malleable variables of appraisals and coping in predicting posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in children following injury. Method: This study combined data from 3 prospective investigations of recovery from pediatric injury (N = 688) in which children ages 8-17 years were recruited shortly after an injury (within 4 weeks). At baseline (T1), children completed measures of their threat appraisals of the injury event and PTSS. Six to twelve weeks later (T2), children completed a measure of coping and PTSS. Finally, PTSS was assessed again 6 months post-injury (T3). Results: Structural equation modeling analyses provide evidence that appraisals and coping contribute to PTSS. Furthermore, results suggest that escape coping mediates the relationship between threat appraisals and PTSS. Conclusions: Early interventions designed to prevent or reduce PTSS after pediatric injury may be more successful if they primarily target modifying escape coping behaviors. To best inform clinical practice, future research should examine factors influencing the development of children's appraisals and coping behaviors in the context of potentially traumatic events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Psychological Association.


  • Appraisals
  • Child injury
  • Coping
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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