Psychological impact of neonatal intensive care unit admissions on parents: A regional perspective

Dickinson, Corrine, Vangaveti, Venkat, and Browne, Allyson (2022) Psychological impact of neonatal intensive care unit admissions on parents: A regional perspective. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 30 (3). pp. 373-384.

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Objective This study aimed to report the prevalence of adverse psychological symptoms and health behaviours of parents who had a baby admitted to a regional neonatal intensive care unit to spotlight mental health care in these unique settings. Design This was a prospective, prevalence-based study using quantitative data. Setting The study was conducted at the Townsville University Hospital, Queensland.

Participants Participants comprised 114 parents of 79 infants enrolled in the study (mothers = 69 and fathers = 45). Main outcome measures Trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, alcohol and drug use, prior mental health history and bonding experience were assessed by standardised self-report questionnaires and a structured diagnostic interview within 2 weeks and at 3 months post-admission to neonatal intensive care unit.

Results Clinically significant acute trauma symptoms (16% of mothers only), depression (22% mothers; 4% of fathers), anxiety (27% mothers; 11% fathers) and stress (24% mothers; 13% fathers) were reported within the first 2 weeks after their baby was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Notably, 18% of parents reported engaging in harmful alcohol use behaviour within 2 weeks post-birth; 29% of fathers continued to report risky drinking at 3 months. At 3 months, 21%, 8% and 6% of mothers met diagnostic criteria for generalised anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, respectively.

Conclusion Screening for psychological distress and alcohol use of parents of neonatal intensive care unit babies can ensure that support services are made available post-discharge to optimise family function and development of the preterm infant.

Item ID: 72464
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1584
Keywords: alcohol, depression, NICU, parent, preterm, trauma
Copyright Information: © 2022 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd.
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 07:47
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3213 Paediatrics > 321303 Neonatology @ 20%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320221 Psychiatry (incl. psychotherapy) @ 80%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200105 Treatment of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200101 Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
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