The psychometric properties of the Brief COPE and the impact of war related parental post-traumatic stress on family functioning

  • Katie O'Donnell

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This systematic review sought to explore the association between war or civil conflict related parental post-traumatic stress and family functioning from the perspective of the family unit (parent and offspring). Electronic searches of CINAHL, PsychINFO, Web of Science and PubMed as well as grey literature and hand searches were carried out. The search procedure identified 9 studies that met the eligibility criteria of the present review. Given heterogeneity between studies existed, a narrative synthesis was employed. All included studies reported that parental PTSD was associated with impaired family functioning with small to large effect size differences between groups where effect sizes were reported. Specific dimensions of family functioning found to be associated with parental PTSD across studies included emotional responsiveness, cohesion, communication and problem solving. Through identifying key difficulties in family functioning associated with parental PTSD, the present review provides tentative insights for clinicians and researchers in the development and implementation of interventions for families. Tailored interventions may be necessary as family functioning can be affected on different levels depending on the severity of parental PTSD. Further, separate intervention approaches for parents and children may be appropriate given parents tend to perceive family functioning as more impaired than their offspring. This review also highlights the paucity of literature on the association between civil conflict related parental PTSD and family functioning.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDonncha Hanna (Supervisor)


  • Family Functioning
  • Parental PTSD
  • War
  • Civil Conflict

Cite this