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Neonatal Netw. 2003 Jan-Feb;22(1):31-7.

Using knowledge to cope with stress in the NICU: how parents integrate learning to read the physiologic and behavioral cues of the infant.

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David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USA.


Parental stress in the NICU has at least a short-term impact on the establishment of the parent-child relationship and potential repercussions on long-term child development outcomes. One way to help parents mitigate stress is to help them learn what they need to know about their infant's condition and care. In this article, we examine how learning to read the infant's physiologic and behavioral cues helps parents cope with stress. We view parental learning as a process in which parents target specific domains of information for learning according to the temporal relevance of the domain to their concerns. It is important that we recognize the fluidity of the process and anticipate what parents need to learn at different times during hospitalization. The NICU staff assumes a crucial role in reducing parental stress by delivering information that is relevant to the parents' needs and by helping parents understand this information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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