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Parental resilience and psychological distress in the neonatal intensive care unit



To evaluate the associations between parental resilience and psychological distress during the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization.

Study design

Observational cohort study of parents of preterm infants (n = 45) admitted to a NICU between December 2017–October 2019. Data on resilience and psychological distress were collected using validated scales. Regression analysis was used to evaluate associations.


One-third of NICU parents screened positive for depression or anxiety. There were no identified sociodemographic factors or parental engagement activities associated with resilience. Parents with higher resilience had lower scores on depression and anxiety screens. However, resilience alone was not a predictor for a positive depression or anxiety screen (aOR 0.93, CI 0.86–1.00; aOR 0.95, CI 0.89–1.02, respectively).


Resilience may be associated with lower scores on depression and anxiety screens but is not an independent predictor for a positive screen during the early NICU hospitalization.

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Fig. 1: Flowchart for study participants.

Data availability

The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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This publication was supported by Award Numbers UL1TR001876 and KL2TR001877 from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

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Authors and Affiliations



OO, YY, LW, KK, RS, CT, KF, LS: contributed to the conception, design, analysis, and interpretation of the data. OO, YY, KK: enrolled study participants. OO: Wrote first draft of manuscript. YY, LW, KK, RS, CT, KF, and LS: Critically reviewed and made edits to the manuscript. All authors approved the final version and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Ololade Okito.

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Okito, O., Yui, Y., Wallace, L. et al. Parental resilience and psychological distress in the neonatal intensive care unit. J Perinatol (2022).

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