Aim: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in parents can have severe consequences also for their children. Prevalence of PTSD is high among refugees. Refugee children have been reported to perform poorly in school. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of PTSD in refugee and native Swedish parents on children’s school performance and to compare the impact of PTSD with that of other major psychiatric disorders. Methods: Register study where multiple regression models were used to analyse school performance in 15–16-year-olds in a national cohort (n = 703,813). PTSD and other major psychiatric disorders (bipolar, depression and/or psychotic disorders) were identified from out- and in-patient hospital care. Results: Maternal and paternal PTSD were associated with lower grades, with adjusted effects of 0.30–0.37 SD in refugee and 0.46–0.50 SD in native Swedish families. Impact of PTSD was greater than that of other psychiatric disorders and comorbidity to PTSD did not increase this impact. Although the impact of PTSD on grades was greater in children in native Swedish families, consequences with regard to eligibility to secondary education were greater for children in refugee families, where 35% of these children were ineligible. Conclusions: Parental PTSD has major consequences for children’s school performance and contributes to the lower school performance in children in refugee families in Sweden. Identification and treatment of PTSD in refugee parents is important for offspring educational achievement. Psychiatric clinics and treatment centres need to have a strategy for support, including educational support, to the offspring of their patients with PTSD.

DOI: 10.1080/08039488.2019.1620852
ISSN: 0803-9488