Objective: The aim of this prospective study was to establish the degree to which parents report post-traumatic growth after the intensive care treatment of their child.
Design: Prospective cross-sectional cohort study.
Setting: Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
Subjects: A total of 50 parents of children, admitted to PICU for >12 h.
Measurements and results: Parents provided stress ratings as their child was discharged from PICU and, 4 months later, completed postal questionnaires rating their anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth. As much as 44 parents (88%) indicated on the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI)  that they had experienced a positive change to a great degree as a result of their experiences in PICU. Parents of children who were ventilated (P = 0.024) reported statistically higher post-traumatic growth as did parents of older children (P = 0.032). PTGI scores were positively correlated with post-traumatic stress scores at 4 months (P = 0.021), but on closer inspection this relationship was found to be curvilinear.
Conclusions: Post-traumatic growth emerged as a salient concept for this population. It was more strongly associated with moderate levels of post-traumatic stress, than high or low levels.