Carol Farr


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) produces cognitive, behavioral, and affective deficits with resulting problems such as improper social behavior, increased aggression, emotional, personality and characterological changes. The impact upon the survivor, the sibling, as well as the parental subsystem has been well documented in the literature. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been diagnosed in several different types of trauma survivors, although rarely have individual psychological symptoms been studied in parents.

This research examined the possible vulnerability factors that are associated with TBI and their potential influence upon PTSD symptomology. Questionnaires were mailed to 266 parents of TBI patients with a response rate of 16.5%. The mean time since the accident was seven years. Mean age of parents was 53 years with a majority of mothers (84.1%) responding to the questionnaire.

Over one-third (36.4%) of the sample population studied were found to have scores on the Penn Inventory that would qualify them for a PTSD diagnosis. Two correlates of having a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis were found in this sample of parents of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients. These correlates were lack of acceptance of the accident and loss of friends. PTSD symptom severity was found to correlate with lack of support of friends and lack of extended family support. Respondents reported that characterological and behavioral changes in their child were the highest reported stress. Almost half (45%) of the sample reported that family and faith had been their greatest strength. Being involved in the accident, having attended parent support groups, or having received individual counseling were not associated with having a PTSD diagnosis. Therefore, it could be speculated that parents with PTSD symptomology could be going unattended and are in need of future help in clinical as well as policy interventions.

LLU Discipline

Social Work


Social Work


Graduate School

First Advisor

Beverly J. Buckles

Second Advisor

Hector Diaz

Third Advisor

Dianna Simon

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Brain Injuries; Stress Disorders; Post-Traumatic



Page Count

v; 55

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives