Eur J Pediatr Surg 2019; 29(05): 437-442
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1660449
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

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

Amichai Ben Ari
1  Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
Daniella Margalit
1  Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
Raphael Udassin
2  Department of Pediatric Surgery, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Centerm, Jerusalem, Israel
Fortu Benarroch
3  Herman Dana Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
› Author Affiliations
Funding We acknowledge the Herman Dana Foundation for its financial support of this research project.
Further Information

Publication History

08 December 2017

25 April 2018

Publication Date:
17 June 2018 (online)


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.