An Exploratory Study of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Parents of Symptomatic Children with Long QT Syndrome

Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie H Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Beverly P White, PsyD

Third Advisor

Jane Z Dumsha, PhD


Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a life-threatening cardiac condition estimated to affect between 1 in 2,500 and 1 in 10,000 persons in the general population. LQTS is caused by a disturbance in the proper function of cardiac ion channels and characterized by a prolongation of the QT interval, resulting in ventricular arrhythmias that can lead to syncope, sudden cardiac arrest, or sudden cardiac death. The aim of this study was to examine if parents of symptomatic children diagnosed with LQTS experience posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and if a relationship exists between the parent/caregiver's problem orientation and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology to help inform mental health professionals and health care providers of the possible psychosocial stressors of parents of children with LQTS. Twenty-four participants completed an online survey, and descriptive analyses found the sample's total PCL-5 score (M = 34.5, s = 21.56) and each symptom cluster score (Cluster B: M = 10.5, s = 6.16; Cluster C: M = 3.42, s = 2.52; Cluster D: M = 9.63, s = 7.77; Cluster E: M = 10.96, s = 6.96) to be above the suggested cutoff scores. In addition, 50% of the participants met the provisional PTSD diagnosis, providing several sources of data supporting the existence of PTSS in parents of children diagnosed with LQTS. Correlations were computed and showed negative problem orientation (NPO) as positively correlated to PTSD symptoms at the 0.01 level of significance (r = 0.554) and no relationship between positive problem orientation and PTSD symptoms.

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