Poster Presentation

Friday, July 13, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation III
Nightmares, Coping Strategies and Psychological Functioning in Two Adolescent Populations
Barbara Peterson, MSN, APRN, College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA, Linda A. Lewandowski, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Wayne State University/Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI, USA, and Lisa Chiodo, PhD, SCHOOBE Project, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.
Learning Objective #1: identify emotion focused coping responses to trauma such as ventilation of feelings that are related to nightmares.
Learning Objective #2: discuss emotion focused coping responses that are related to behavioral problems in teens who have experienced trauma.

Purpose:  The purpose of the study was to 1) examine the relations among coping behaviors used by adolescents, trauma exposure and nightmare frequency, and 2) examine relations among behavioral and psychological functioning, nightmare frequency and coping. Background: Nightmares are a common, troublesome response to traumatic events and have been associated with numerous psychological problems. Nightmare frequency is related to adolescent psychopathology and behavior problems. Adolescents use a variety of behaviors to cope with trauma exposure.  Some coping strategies reduce distressing responses to trauma whereas others are associated with behavioral problems.

Methods: The sample (N = 371) included adolescents, ages 12-16, from two urban cohorts. A descriptive, correlational design explored effects of cumulative violence and trauma in African American and Iraqi refugee adolescents.  Teens were administered the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale (APS), the Cumulative Trauma Scale (CTS), and the Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experiences (A-COPE). Nightmare frequency was obtained from the CAPS.  Cumulative count of trauma experiences was obtained from the CTS.  Results: Regression analysis was used to examine the relations among the factors related to nightmare frequency.  Three A-COPE factors; emotional-focused coping, problem-solving coping, and cognitive coping were entered into an initial regression analysis showing only emotional-focused coping uniquely predicted nightmare frequency. Stepwise regression was used to examine the three emotion-focused coping scales (ventilating feelings, relaxing, and avoiding problems), the cumulative trauma count, gender and ethnicity. Among the emotion-focused coping scales, only ventilating feelings uniquely predicted nightmare frequency. Cumulative trauma significantly predicted nightmare frequency. Only emotion-focused coping was correlated to psychopathology and behavior problems.

Discussion:  Perceptive nursing interventions that promote healthy expressions of emotion-focused coping may reduce nightmares and behavioral problems in adolescents. Strategies to teach adolescents healthy ventilation of feelings must be further developed and research conducted to test for efficacy.