An integrative model of pediatric medical traumatic stress

J Pediatr Psychol. 2006 May;31(4):343-55. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsj054. Epub 2005 Aug 10.


Objective: To guide assessment and intervention for patients and families, a model for assessing and treating pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS) is presented that integrates the literature across pediatric conditions.

Methods: A model with three general phases is outlined--I, peritrauma; II, early, ongoing, and evolving responses; and III, longer-term PMTS. Relevant literature for each is reviewed and discussed with respect to implications for intervention for patients and families.

Results: Commonalities across conditions, the range of normative responses to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), the importance of preexisting psychological well-being, developmental considerations, and a social ecological orientation are highlighted.

Conclusions: Growing empirical support exists to guide the development of assessment and intervention related to PMTS for patients with pediatric illness and their parents. The need for interventions across the course of pediatric illness and injury that target patients, families, and/or healthcare teams is apparent. The model provides a basis for further development of evidence-based treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / therapy*