Stress and Depression in Mothers of Premature Infants: Evaluation of a Psychosocial Intervention Model in the NICU. A Randomized Controlled Study

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Abstract 1303 Poster Session II, Sunday, 5/2 (poster 90)

Background. Experience shows that premature birth and NICU admission usually produce undesired effects on parents, mainly maternal stress and depression. Programs applied early in the NICU probably could be useful to improve parents affective well-being and infant-mother bonding.

Aim. To evaluate a psychosocial intervention program to provide support for the parents of premature infants during the stay in the NICU.

Methods. The study was performed in a terciary neonatal unit between 1 August 1996 and 31 July 1997. Inclusion criteria was inborn infants with birthweight under 1500 g. Infants with congenital anomalies and/or psychiatric disease in one or both parents were not included. During the period 28 infants and their parents met by inclusion/exclusion criteria. Four parents denied consent. Thus 24 infants and their parents were randomly assigned to intervention group (n=12) that received a individualize family-based intervention during the hospitalization, or control group (n=12) that received the standard care available in the NICU. The intervention program was adopted from the model reported by Meyer et al (Pediatrics 1994;93:241-46). The intervention was initiated when the infant was medically stable and the likelihood survival was high. The major outcome variables (maternal stress and depression) were measured with the Parental Stressor Scale-NICU and Beck Depression Inventory respectively.

Results. Both medical and demographic variables were comparable. The intervention group showed significantly lower levels of stress and depression. (Table)

Table 1 No caption

Conclusions. A psychosocial intervention applied early with mothers of premature infants could reduce maternal stress and depression in the NICU.

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(Spon by: Waldemar A Carlo)

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