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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2007 Nov-Dec;36(6):558-67.

Mothers and fathers of very low-birthweight infants: similarities and differences in the first year after birth.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nursing, Centre for Nursing Research, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. nancy.feeley@mcgill.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the psychosocial adjustment and the quality of interaction with their infant of mothers and fathers of very low-birthweight infants at two time points in the first year of the infant's life.

DESIGN:

Quantitative, longitudinal design.

SETTING:

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of two Canadian urban hospitals.

PARTICIPANTS:

Sixty-one couples who had an infant born weighing less than 1,500 g.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Parenting Sense of Competence questionnaire, and the Support in Parenting Questionnaire were completed at 3 and 9 months of age. Parent-infant interaction was observed at 9 months and scored with the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale.

RESULTS:

Fathers' reported parenting self-efficacy was significantly lower than mothers' at both 3 and 9 months of age. Fathers reported more received support than mothers, and the amount of support that both mothers and fathers reported increased significantly from the 3-month to the 9-month assessment. Mothers and fathers reported similar levels of anxiety and perceived helpfulness of the support they received and were equally sensitive and responsive in interactions with their infants at 9 months of age.

CONCLUSIONS:

Similarities and differences between mothers and fathers were observed. It is important for nurses to assess mothers and fathers, how any differences are perceived by the couple, and how any differences might be affecting them during the neonatal intensive care unit hospitalization and in early months after discharge.

PMID:
17973699
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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