Posttraumatic stress symptoms in parents of sick neonates


  • A. Bogdanic
  • M. Grubic


The goal of this study is to determine the level of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in parents of children treated in NICU and to determine factors associated with the PTSS. Participants were 36 mothers whose children were hospitalized at the NICU. The participants filled in on-line questionnaire in the period from 6 months to 3 years after NICU discharge. Posttraumatic stress was measured with Impact of event scale questionnaire, and NICU stress was measured with Parental Stress Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 38% of participants had high level of PTSS symptoms, 16% had moderate level and 45% had low level of symptoms. Symptoms of PTS were more pronounced in parents who had higher levels of parental stress in NICU (rp=0,629, p<0,001). Parenting stress in NICU was positively correlated with duration of first hospitalization (rp=0,35, p<0,05). Parents whose child was hospitalized more than once had higher levels of parenting stress in NICU (t=2,29, p<0,05), but did not show higher levels of PTSS symptoms. We have found high prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptoms in mothers of infants treated in NICU which puts them to hightened risk for development of PTSD. The symptoms of PTS are more pronounced in mothers who had higher level of parental stress in NICU. Our results stress the importance of early recognition of parents who are at greater stress while their child is in NICU in order to provide them with proper psychological care aimed to reduction of stress which may in long term prevent development of PTSD.





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