When a child experiences trauma, it can sometimes lead to emotional difficulties. We know that social support can be helpful in minimising emotional problems after trauma, but exactly how this works is not well explored. Results from this study, authored by Caitlin Hitchcock of the CBU, suggested that social support may reduce negative appraisals a child has after a trauma (e.g., it’s all my fault). As these negative appraisals can cause emotional problems, having fewer negative appraisals then leads to better emotional functioning. The results also demonstrated that the child’s perception of social support, rather than the parent’s perception, was most important in predicting outcome. This emphasised that how supported the child feels (rather than parent-ratings of their ability to provide support) is likely to be important in minimising posttraumatic stress after trauma. The positive influence of social support may also come from people other than the parents.
Read the full study here.