Improving cognitive development of low-birth-weight premature infants with the COPE program: A pilot study of the benefit of early NICU intervention with mothers

Authors

  • Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
    2. University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY
    • Center for Research and Evidence-Based Practice and PNP Program, University of Rochester School of Nursing, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Box SON, Rochester, NY 14642.
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    • *

      Associate Professor.

  • Linda Alpert-Gillis,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
    2. University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY
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      Associate Professor.

  • Nancy Fischbeck Feinstein,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • Senior Research Associate.

  • Eileen Fairbanks,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • Senior Project Coordinator.

  • Jaclyn Schultz-Czarniak,

    1. Children's Hospital of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
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    • ***

      Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

  • Diane Hust,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • ***

      Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.

  • Laura Sherman,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • #

      Research Nurse.

  • Christine LeMoine,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • §

      Instructor of Clinical Nursing.

  • Zendi Moldenhauer,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • **

      Doctoral Student.

  • Leigh Small,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • **

      Doctoral Student.

  • Nancee Bender,

    1. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Center for High-Risk Children and Youth, Rochester, NY
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    • **

      Doctoral Student.

  • Robert A. Sinkin, MD

    1. University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY
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      Associate Professor.


Abstract

The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a parent-focused intervention program (COPE) on infant cognitive development and maternal coping. A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 42 mothers of low-birth-weight (LBW) premature infants hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), with follow-up at 3 months' and 6 months' corrected ages. COPE mothers received the four-phase educational–behavioral program that began 2–4 days postbirth and continued through 1 week following discharge from the NICU. Comparison mothers received audiotaped information during the same four time frames. Results indicated that COPE infants had significantly higher mental development scores at a 3 months' corrected age (M = 100.3) than did the comparison infants (M = 93.9), and this difference widened at 6 months' corrected age, with COPE infants scoring 14 points higher. COPE mothers were significantly less stressed by the NICU sights and sounds and had significantly stronger beliefs about what behaviors and characteristics to expect from their premature infants. Findings from this study support the need for further testing of early NICU interventions with parents to determine their effectiveness on parental coping and infant developmental outcomes. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 24:373–389, 2001

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