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Parents of neonates admitted to the NICU undergo a great deal of stress, making it imperative for health care providers to identify and act on the sources of this stress.
In this prospective study, we determined the level of stress among parents of neonates admitted to the NICU by using the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS: NICU). We also correlated the scores obtained with relevant parental and neonatal factors that could contribute to parental stress. The study setting was a tertiary care NICU in northern India.
The study was conducted from November 2009 to April 2011. All parents of neonates admitted to the NICU for at least 48 hours were administered the PSS: NICU. Relevant parental demographic data and relevant neonatal data were collected. Total as well as mean scores and subscores were obtained. Correlation of the scores with other factors was conducted by using SPSS version 12.
A total of 343 parents completed the questionnaire. The total mean PSS: NICU scores ranged from 1.35 to 4.91 (mean: 3.71). The mean score for mothers was 3.78, and the mean score for fathers was 3.65. The mean subscores were highest for infant behavior (mean: 4.25), followed by parental role alteration (mean: 3.64).The mothers scored higher than the fathers in all subscores. Factors such as birth weight and gestational age influenced the stress levels to a significant degree; factors such as gender of the neonate, education and socioeconomic status of the parents, presence of birth asphyxia, ventilation status, and the nature of the infant’s illness did not influence stress to any significant levels.
Parents of neonates admitted to the NICU experience high levels of stress. Parents of neonates with lower birth weights and gestational age experience more stress.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics