The stress response of mothers and fathers of preterm infants

Authors

  • Dr. Margaret Shandor Miles,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Women's and Children's Health, School of Nursing, CB#7460 Carrington Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460.
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    • Margaret Shandor Miles, PhD, RN, and Sandra G. Funk, PhD, are professors in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Sandra G. Funk,

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    • Margaret Shandor Miles, PhD, RN, and Sandra G. Funk, PhD, are professors in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Mary Ann Kasper

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    • Mary Ann Kasper, EdD, RN, is an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Kansas


Abstract

Differences in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environmental stress, uncertainty, and anxiety of 23 mothers and fathers (couples) whose premature infants were hospitalized in an NICU were explored. Alterations in the parental role were found to be stressful for both mothers and fathers, with mothers reporting significantly greater stress in this area than did fathers. Stress and uncertainty decreased significantly over time. Mothers and fathers did not differ in level of anxiety. Findings suggest that both mothers and fathers are distressed by the admission of a premature to an NICU; however, mothers may be more distressed by certain aspects of the experience.

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