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Effects of Family Coping and Resources on Family Adjustment and Parental Stress in the Acute Phase of the NICU Experience

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Purpose: To determine the relationship between family coping and resources and family adjustment and parental stress in the acute phase of the NICU experience.

Design: Correlational study based on the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment, and Adaptation. Main study instruments included the State Anxiety scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Family Inventory of Resources for Management, the Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales, and the General Functioning subscale of the McMaster Family Assessment Device.

Sample: Data collected from 124 mother and father pairs within two to four days of their infant's admission to the NICU.

Main Outcome Variables: Family adjustment and parental stress.

Results: Adequate resources were more strongly related to positive adjustment and decreased stress than were either coping or being a first-time parent. The relationships among the variables were generally the same for both parents. Mothers utilized more coping strategies than did fathers.

Practice Recommendations: Families with limited resources should be identified early to facilitate their adjustment to the NICU.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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