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Heart Lung. 2001 Jan-Feb;30(1):74-84.

Family-provider relationships and well-being in families with preterm infants in the NICU.

Author information

  • Ohio State University College of Nursing, 1585 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



The purposes of this study were the following: (1) to describe maternal perceptions of family-provider relationships in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and (2) to examine associations between maternal perceptions of family-provider relationships in the NICU and well-being in families with preterm infants.


The study's design was descriptive and correlational.


The study took place in 5 NICUs in midwestern United States.


The study included 55 mothers of preterm infants hospitalized in the NICU.


Self-report measures: the Family-Provider Relationships Instrument-NICU, Ryff's measure of psychologic well-being, and the General Scale of the Family Assessment Measure.


Mothers of preterm infants who depicted their family's relationship with their child's primary health care providers in the NICU as positive and family-centered reported more satisfaction with the care received. In addition, these mothers expressed a greater willingness to seek help from health care providers. When mothers reported a discrepancy between what they wanted the family-provider relationships to be like and what they believed the relationship was like, they were less satisfied with care received. Mothers who wanted and believed they had positive family-centered relationships with providers were more satisfied with the care received and they reported higher levels of psychologic well-being.


The nature of the relationships that families develop with health care providers in the NICU may have a profound influence on how individuals and families respond to the experience of having a preterm infant. Health care providers who incorporate the key elements of family-centered care into their practice can have a positive influence on well-being in families of preterm infants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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