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Level of uncertainity preceived by women hospitalized with high-risk pregnancy Clauson, Marion Isobelle


This descriptive correlational study was designed to determine the perceived level of uncertainty of women hospitalized with high-risk pregnancy. The study investigated the difference between levels of uncertainty at 48 hours after admission and at the time of discharge. The relationships between uncertainty and factors that might influence this uncertainty such as parity, length of stay, maternal age and gestational age were also investigated. The Mishel (1988) theory of uncertainty in illness and Snyder's (1979) framework of an altered trajectory of high-risk pregnancy guided this study. A convenience study of 58 women who were admitted to the antepartum units of atertiary obstetrical hospital completed the Uncertainty Stress Scale-High-Risk Pregnancy Version (USS-HRPV) and a patient information sheet. The subjects were approached by the researcher and voluntarily completed a questionnaire shortly after admission and again upon discharge. Overall, the high-risk women perceived moderately low levels of uncertainty at 48hours after admission and these levels dropped significantly by the time of discharge. The nature of the uncertainty experienced upon admission was related to not knowing the cause of the high-risk condition or symptoms, and to concerns about the stability of the condition and about the baby's chances to be healthy. At the time of discharge, the uncertainty was generated by the unpredictability of symptoms, by not knowing how long the symptoms will last and by concern about the baby. No significant difference was found between uncertainty levels of primigravidas and multigravidas either at admission or at discharge. Although a tendency was found for 111 uncertainty to decrease as maternal age increased, there was no significant relationship. A significant negative relationship was demonstrated between uncertainty and gestational age. A significant positive relationship was found between uncertainty and length of stay, as well as overall perception of stress. The findings of this study were discussed in relation to other research studies, the theoretical framework, and methodological problems inherent to the study. Implications for nursing practice, theory and education and recommendations for future research were identified.

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