Parents’ and Child’s Concussion History as Predictors of Parental Attitudes and Knowledge of Concussion Recognition and Response

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Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine


Background: Parents’ knowledge of and attitudes toward concussions are often vital factors that affect care for injured adolescent athletes. It is important to understand the role that parents’ personal experiences with concussions play with regard to current concussion knowledge and attitudes so that clinicians may tailor their educational approaches. Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to determine an association between parents’ personal experiences and their child’s experiences with concussions as well as parental concussion knowledge and attitudes. We hypothesized that parents who have personally experienced symptoms or have a child who has experienced symptoms would have better knowledge and more favorable attitudes toward concussions. Study Design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Parents of youth sport athletes (N = 234 [82 male, 144 female, 8 unreported]; mean age, 44.0 ± 6.3 years) completed a prevalidated survey for concussion knowledge (maximum score possible, 29) and attitudes (maximum score possible, 49). Higher scores indicated better knowledge and more favorable attitudes toward concussive injuries. Parents reported the frequency of concussion diagnoses and/or experiences of concussion-related symptoms and whether their child had suffered a diagnosed concussion or experienced concussion symptoms (yes/no). Spearman rank correlation and multivariable regression were used to examine the association between experience of symptom clusters (self or child) and concussion knowledge and attitudes. Results: Knowledge was moderate (mean, 23.3 ± 2.5 of 29), while attitudes prioritized disclosure (mean, 46.3 ± 3.7 of 49). Parents’ experience of the sleep-arousal symptom cluster was positively associated with concussion attitudes (r = 0.22, P =.002; β = –3.301, P =.011). Parents with children who experienced sleep-arousal and vestibular-somatic symptom clusters were weakly associated with parental concussion knowledge (sleep-arousal: r = 0.15, P =.041; vestibular-somatic: r = 0.17, P =.020; β = 0.540, P =.012). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that parents’ personal experiences with concussion-related symptoms have little effect on parental knowledge and attitudes as a whole. However, clinicians should consider particular symptom clusters that may provide insight into targets for future concussion education. According to these findings, parents of youth sport participants would benefit from increased concussion education focusing on the types of symptoms as well as the consequences of suffering a concussion.



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