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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parents' perceptions of environmental stressors in the special care nursery Perehudoff, Barbara Elaine


This descriptive comparative and correlational study was designed to determine the degree of environmental stress perceived by mothers and fathers during the first week of their infant's admission to a Special Care Nursery (SCN) and to determine the differences in their perceptions. In addition, the variables of gestational age, birth weight and paternal attitude toward caregiving were investigated for their relationship to the perceived degree of environmental stress. A convenience sample of 31 sets of parents was selected from a tertiary level SCN in a large urban children's hospital. Both parents completed the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Parental Stress Scale and an information sheet; fathers also completed the Paternal Attitude Scale. Overall, mothers and fathers perceived the SCN environment as a low source of stress. Mothers were moderately stressed by their altered parental role. In addition, mothers were significantly more stressed by the environmental aspects of SCN and the total SCN experience than were fathers. Environmental stress arising from staff communications and relations was significantly negatively related to birth weight and gestational age. No significant relationship was found between paternal attitude toward care giving and the fathers' perception of environmental stress.

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