Background: Acute stress following mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is highly prevalent and associated with Persistent Post-Concussion symptoms (PPCS). However, the mechanism mediating this relationship is understudied. Objective: To examine whether parental accommodation (i.e. parents’ attempts to adjust the environment to the child’s difficulties) and child’s coping strategies mediate the association between acute stress and PPCS in children following mTBI. Method: Participants were 58 children aged 8–16 who sustained a mTBI and their parents. Children’s acute stress (one-week post-injury) and coping strategies (three weeks post-injury), and parental accommodation (three weeks and four months post-injury) were assessed. Outcome measures included PPCS (four months post-injury) and neuropsychological tests of cognitive functioning (attention and memory). A baseline for PPCS was obtained by a retrospective report of pre-injury symptoms immediately after the injury. Results: Children’s acute stress and negative coping strategies (escape-oriented coping strategies) and four-months parental accommodation were significantly related to PPCS. Acute stress predicted PPCS and attention and memory performance. Parental accommodation significantly mediated the association between acute stress and PPCS. Conclusions: Stress plays an important role in children’s recovery from mTBI and PPCS. Parental accommodation mediates this relationship, and thus, clinical attention to parental reactions during recovery is needed.
- Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
- acute stress
- coping strategies
- parental accommodation
- persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS)