Traumatic Stress among School-Aged Pediatric Surgery Patients and Their Parents

Amichai Ben Ari, Daniella Margalit, Raphael Udassin, Fortu Benarroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction Since hospitalization can be a traumatic event for children, many of them may suffer from a cluster of chronic psychological and emotional difficulties called Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress (PMTS). Although PMTS causes considerable functional impairment and psychological distress and may decrease the children's compliance with post-surgical care, awareness of this condition is low and thus not enough effort is made to prevent it. The objective of this study is to assess prospectively the prevalence and characteristics of PMTS in school-age children following hospitalization in a general pediatric surgery ward and in their parents, which has not been documented before. Materials Patients and Methods We recruited parents of 88 children aged 6 to 13 years old, hospitalized in a pediatric surgery ward and which form a representative sample of the children of this age in the ward. Three to five months after discharge from the hospital, the parents completed questionnaires measuring symptoms of psychological distress. Results About 26.4% of children displayed symptoms of PMTS, and 11.6% of parents suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder following their child's hospitalization. Moreover, we found a medium high positive correlation between the parents' level of distress and that of their child. Conclusion In view of the prevalence of PMTS among school-aged children following surgical intervention, it is necessary to promote increased awareness, preventive interventions, and early identification and treatment of this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • PMTS
  • PTSD
  • prevalence
  • surgical procedures


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