Parental Stress and Mental Health Symptoms in the NICU: Recognition and Interventions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Parental experiences in the NICU are often characterized by psychological stress and anxiety following the birth of a critically ill or premature infant. Such stress can have a negative impact on parents and their vulnerable infants during NICU hospitalization as well as after discharge. These infants are also at increased risk for adverse developmental, cognitive, academic, and mental health outcomes. Identifying parents at risk for psychological distress is important and feasible with the use of well-validated screening instruments. Screening for psychological distress is essential for identifying families in need of referral for psychological support and resources. Numerous interventions have been implemented in the NICU to support parents. These include staff-based support such as wellness rounds and education in developmental care as well as parental-based support that includes cognitive behavioral therapy and home visitation programs. Comprehensive interventions should use a multidisciplinary approach that involves not only NICU staff but also key stakeholders such as social workers, spiritual/religious representatives, specialists in developmental care, and psychiatrists/psychologists to help support families and facilitate the transition to the home. Future efforts should include raising awareness of the psychological stresses of NICU parents and encouraging the development of programs to provide parents with psychological support.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bernardo, J; Rent, S; Arias-Shah, A; Hoge, MK; Shaw, RJ

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 8

Start / End Page

  • e496 - e505

PubMed ID

  • 34341157

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-9906

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1542/neo.22-8-e496

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States