Prevalence and Predictors of Anxiety in Parents of Neonates Admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Gurpreet Singh Chhabra, Manmeet Kaur Sodhi, Amandeep Singh

Abstract

Background: The parents undergo psychologic stress when their infant is admitted in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), mainly due to ambience and practices of NICUs. On the other hand, they become pacified when the infant’s condition is discussed clearly and they are allowed to care for their infant.

Objective: This study was planned to examine the prevalence and predictors of anxiety in the parents (mother and father) of neonates admitted to NICU and to compare it with the parents of neonates not admitted to NICU.

Methods: The study was conducted in postnatal ward and Level III NICU of Sri Guru Ram Das Hospital and Medical College (Amritsar, Punjab, India). Two hundred and three parents were randomly chosen for the study. Among them, 104 parents (study parents) had their neonates admitted to NICU and 99 parents’ (control parents) neonates did not require NICU admission. IPAT scale was used for assessment of anxiety of the parents in the study.

Results: A higher percentage of parents with their neonates admitted to NICU showed clinically relevant anxiety than control parents. Overall anxiety scores were directly related to prematurity, no previous NICU admission, and female gender. Parents of the premature neonates admitted in the NICU showed high levels of anxiety.

Conclusions: Specific medical intervention benefits most parents who have developed stress and anxiety due to their infants being admitted to the NICU. Parents with premature neonates are affected more and require increased clinical attention.

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