Trajectories of maternal symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder predict long-term mental health of children following the Wenchuan earthquake in China: A 10-year follow-up study

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Background: Maternal psychopathology can be an important factor associated with psychological adjustment of children. However, there is limited research on long-term impacts of maternal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on children's mental health. This study examined how PTSD trajectories of women exposed to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China predicted their children's mental health symptoms 10 years after the earthquake. Methods: 410 dyads of mothers and their adolescent children who exposed to the Wenchuan earthquake were investigated at 12 and 18 months post-earthquake. While the mothers completed measures of earthquake exposure and PTSD symptoms, the children completed measures of earthquake exposure, PTSD, depression and anxiety symptoms. In the 10-year follow up, 257 out of the 410 children completed measures of PTSD, depression and anxiety symptoms. Data were analyzed using linear regression. Results: Four trajectories of maternal PTSD symptoms were identified: (a) chronic (9.5%); (b) resilient (66.3%); (c) delayed (7.6%); and (d) recovery (16.6%); More importantly, the findings demonstrated that children whose mothers experienced chronic PTSD reported higher level of PTSD and anxiety symptoms 10 years after the earthquake. Limitations: : Only two waves of maternal PTSD were collected, self-reported tools other than clinical reviews were used to collect data, and a significant proportion of participants did not respond at the 10-year follow-up. Conclusions: This study identified maternal PTSD trajectories following the Wenchuan earthquake. Chronic PTSD symptoms in mothers were associated with increased risk of children's PTSD and anxiety 10 years after the earthquake.


  • Xiao Yan Chen
  • Jieling Chen
  • Xuliang Shi
  • Min Jiang
  • Yuanyuan Li
  • Ya Zhou
  • Maosheng Ran
  • Yuan Lai
  • Tong Wang
  • Fang Fan
  • Xianchen Liu
  • Cecilia Lai Wan Chan
Externa organisationer
  • South China Normal University
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Lund University
  • University of Hong Kong
  • Hebei University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Pediatrik


Sidor (från-till)201-206
Antal sidor6
TidskriftJournal of Affective Disorders
StatusPublished - 2020 apr 1
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa