Caregiving and Help Seeking by Mothers of Low Birthweight Infants and Mothers of Normal Birthweight Infants

Authors

  • Kathleen M May D.N.Sc., R.N.,

    1. Kathleen M. May is an Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing, Honolulu, Hawaii. Jie Hu is a Doctoral Candidate, The University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, Arizona.
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  • Jie Hu M.S., R.N.

    1. Kathleen M. May is an Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing, Honolulu, Hawaii. Jie Hu is a Doctoral Candidate, The University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, Arizona.
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Address correspondence to Kathleen M. May, Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing, 2528 The Mall—Webster Hall, Honolulu, HI 96822. E-mail: kmay@hawaii.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to describe perceptions of infant health, caregiving at home, and help seeking by mothers of low birthweight (LBW) infants (n= 30) and mothers of normal birthweight infants (n= 30). In this descriptive study, data were analyzed through multiple regression, t tests, and content analysis of responses to researcher-constructed questionnaires. There were statistically significant relationships between: infant health and both confidence in caregiving (R2= 0.18, p < 0.001) and caregiver burden (R2= 0.29, p < 0.001); preparation for caregiving and confidence in caregiving (R2= 0.10, p < 0.05); and confidence in caregiving and caregiver burden (R2= 0.12, p < 0.01). Compared with mothers of normal birthweight infants, mothers of LBW infants perceived poorer infant health, t (58) =–2.02, p= < 0.05, and more caregiver burden, t (58) = 3.50, p= < 0.001. Mothers reported seeking help from a variety of resources, mostly nonprofessional for questions on infant care or nonserious infant health problems, and mostly physicians for questions on serious infant health problems. Nurses can use knowledge of mothers' perceptions of infant health, caregiving, and help seeking to facilitate mothers' management of caregiving and resource use.

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