Stress Experiences of Parents with Premature Infants in a Special Care Nursery

Lau, Rosalind G. L (2001) Stress Experiences of Parents with Premature Infants in a Special Care Nursery. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This project is a controlled prospective longitudinal study of stress experiences of parents with premature infants born from 30-35 weeks gestation being cared for in a tertiary special care nursery (SCN). Sixty mothers and 59 fathers of premature infants and 60 mothers and fathers of term infants were recruited into the study. A range of repeated selfreports and biochemical markers of stress (cortisol and tribulin) were carried out on 5 measuring times through approximately a total of 24 weeks for parents of premature infants and 17 weeks for parents of term infants. Parents of premature infants reported higher stress levels than parents of term infants within the first week of infant's birth but had lower biochemical markers of stress. The stressors perceived by these parents in a SCN were appearance and behaviour of the infants and the delayed in performing the parental role. Parents used both emotion- and problemfocused coping strategies to deal with the stressful events. A follow-up telephone interview of these parents a year after the birth of their premature infant found that most parents expressed the experience as positive. A few parents were concerned over the neurodevelopmental and cognitive outcomes of their infants. Implications for clinical practice were discussed.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > RFCD Classification > 370000 Studies in Human Society
Keywords stress; parents; premature infants; special care; nursery
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