Problem: Parental stress in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has been reported, however identifying modifiable stress factors and looking for demographic parent factors related to stress has not been well researched. Aim: This study aims to identify the most stressful elements for parents in the neonatal intensive care unit. Methods: Parents of babies in an Australian neonatal intensive care unit (N=73) completed both the Parent Stress Scale - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a survey of parent and baby demographic and support experience variables (Parent Survey) over an 18-month period. Findings: Older parental age, very premature birth and twin birth were significantly associated with a higher Parent Stress Scale - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit score. Having a high score in the Relationship and Parental Role scale was strongly associated with attendance at the parent support group. Conclusion: These results indicate the variables associated with stress and this knowledge can be used by teams within hospitals to provide better supportive emotional care for parents.
- Intensive care unit
- Premature birth