Children’s Knowledge about Parental Exposure to Trauma

Cristiane S. Duarte, Ruth Eisenberg, George J. Musa, Amanda Addolorato, Sa Shen, Christina W. Hoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The study aims to determine children’s knowledge about their parents’ exposure to traumatic events and factors associated with such knowledge. Children (ages 9–16) and their parents with a range of exposures to trauma, including the 9/11 attack, answered questions about parental exposure to life threatening events. A child’s accurate knowledge about parental exposure was defined as an agreement between parent and child on lifetime presence or absence of traumatic events. The present study findings suggest that children were often unaware about their parents’ exposures to life threatening events. Knowledge about fathers’ exposure was more accurate when the child was older, fathers had direct exposure to 9/11, or had been a first responder. Children of mothers with depression were less likely to have accurate knowledge about their mothers’ exposure compared to children of non-depressed mothers. Overall, findings indicated that children are generally unaware of parental (particularly maternal) exposure to traumatic events. The next step is to determine how knowledge about parental trauma exposure impacts children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-35
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Mental health
  • Public health
  • Trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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