Fathers' support to mothers of medically fragile infants.
To examine mothers' perceptions of support from fathers over the 1st year after birth of a medically fragile infant.
A descriptive, correlation design based on an ecologic systems view of the family. It was hypothesized that the levels of paternal support would be influenced by factors within the two subsystems: the mother-father system (marital status) and the child subsystem (health and gender).
A tertiary care children's hospital.
Sixty-four mothers of medically fragile term and preterm infants, who were married or living with the father.
Main outcome measures
The Stress Support Scale assessed maternal perceptions of helpfulness and satisfaction with paternal support at enrollment, after discharge, and around 1 year of age.
Mothers reported high levels of help from fathers at enrollment. Married mothers did not differ from unmarried mothers in their perceptions of helpfulness of support but were more satisfied with support. Mothers of female infants received more help from fathers than mothers of male infants, and this difference increased over time. However, mothers of female infants were not more satisfied with paternal support. Neither number of technologies nor birthweight related the maternal perceptions of paternal support.
Family systems factors were more significant in maternal perceptions of paternal support than the health status of the infant.
Lee, T-Y; Miles, MS; Holditch-Davis, D
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