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Pediatrics. 1983 Apr;71(4):504-9.

Another myth: reduced hospital visiting by inner-city mothers.


Hospitalization of young children produces stress that can be reduced by the presence of a parent. Inner-city parents, however, are generally believed to visit the hospital less often than more affluent parents. At Boston City Hospital pediatric nursing and medical staff (N = 60) were surveyed to obtain their impressions of maternal visiting and its determinants; then 80/94 consecutive admissions of children less than age 5 years were surveyed to record the mothers' actual visiting times. Each mother was interviewed to determine sociodemographic status, her perception of her child's behavior, and her perception about visiting. The staff believed that few mothers (20%) would visit more than 4 h/d, but the study showed that nearly three times this many mothers did visit more than 4 h/d. The median visit length was five hours, and 20% of the mothers roomed-in at least once. Contrary to staff expectations, neither job nor child care responsibilities were related to visit length. Mothers who thought visits helped their children visited longer (10.6 v 5.3 hours, P less than .001). Contrary to staff beliefs, most inner-city mothers successfully overcame external and emotional barriers to visiting their hospitalized children. Staff input and an educational effort might facilitate longer visits by the one third of mothers who did not recognize the importance of their visiting their children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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