Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-traumatic stress spectrum have been recently applied to understand the impact of life-threatening disease or injury in one’s child; nevertheless, scant data are available on a particular chronic illness such as epilepsy whose phenotypic expression is seizures, which are acute, sudden, and unpredictable manifestations. Subjects with bipolar disorders or with mood spectrum symptoms demonstrated to be more vulnerable to develop PTSD in the aftermath of a trauma.
Objectives: The main aim of this study was to evaluate post-traumatic symptoms among 134 parents of children with a diagnosis of epilepsy, followed at the outpatient neurologic unit of Department of Pediatrics in Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa, as well as gender differences. The second aim of this study was to estimate the impact of lifetime mood spectrum on post-traumatic stress symptoms in the same study sample after fulfillment of the Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self Report (TALS-SR) and the Mood Spectrum-Self Report (MOODS-SR) lifetime version.
Results: Results showed 10.4% and 37.3% of PTSD full and partial, respectively. Demographic characteristics and clinical features of the study sample did not show any impact on stress symptomatology. Mothers presented higher rates at all Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 PTSD symptoms’ clusters except avoidance. Nevertheless, noteworthy correlations between post-traumatic symptomatology and mood spectrum symptoms detected with the self-report tools, emerged only in the subgroup of the fathers.
Conclusion: These findings corroborate the need to provide assistance to caregivers of pediatric patients and confirm the hypothesis that lifetime mood spectrum may have an impact on reaction to traumas.