Current Treatment Options in Pediatrics

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Trauma and Parenting: Informing Clinical Practice with Recent Research Findings

  • Francesca Suardi
  • Molly Rothenberg
  • Sandra Rusconi Serpa
  • Daniel Schechter
Mental Health (WF Njoroge and TD Benton, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Mental Health

Opinion statement

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common consequence of interpersonal violence (IPV). Maternal IPV-related PTSD has been shown to interfere with the mothers’ ability to join with their children in mutual emotion regulation, a pre-requisite for the development of self-regulation. Studies have shown that parental reflective functioning (PRF; i.e., the attribution of mental states that may be inferred to motivate interactive behavior) and maternal sensitivity (MS) are protective factors. Both PRF and MS are associated with secure child-parent attachment. The stronger these factors are at baseline, the more they improve the chances of a mother with IPV-PTSD seeking help in order to benefit quickly from both physical and mental health assessment and intervention. Pediatricians should routinely assess the history of IPV in the family environment taking into account the parent-child relationship, through observing parent-child interaction and listening to how the parent talks about her child and other important attachment relationships. Health professionals can learn to support and model PRF with traumatized parents.


Trauma Parenting Parent-child interaction Maternal sensitivity Risk factors for emotion regulation Reflective functioning 

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Suardi
    • 1
  • Molly Rothenberg
    • 1
  • Sandra Rusconi Serpa
    • 1
  • Daniel Schechter
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of MedicineGenevaSwitzerland

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