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Factors affecting stress levels in parents of surgical neonates: A prospective observational study

      Abstract

      Background

      There is a paucity of research focusing on the stress levels in parents of newborns undergoing surgery. Resource challenged systems have to deal with overcrowding, a shortage of workforce along with demographic and socioeconomic issues like delayed presentations and out of pocket expenses. The primary objective of this study was to understand the factors associated with stress in the parents of these congenitally malformed neonates.

      Methodology

      This was a prospective cohort study, which was conducted in a neonatal surgical ICU of a tertiary care teaching hospital. Factors affecting stress levels in parents of surgical neonates were studied in 100 participants. A multi-dimensional questionnaire - The PSS: NICU score was utilized in the study. The parents were interviewed on Day 3–5 after surgery.

      Result

      59% of the respondents were fathers. The majority of the parents were in the age bracket of 24 to 35 years. The mean scores for the subscales sights and sounds, looks and behavior and alteration in the parental role were 3.24±0.8, 3.52±0.63, 3.55±0.8 and 2.8 ± 0.9 respectively. The highest level of stress was found in the domains of alteration of parental role and infant appearance and behavior. Comparisons showed significantly higher maternal scores in all the domains. Overall stress scores were highest for abdominal wall defects.

      Conclusion

      Parents of neonates undergoing surgery suffer from significant stress levels and appropriate counseling targeted towards specific stressors is required to allay this important parental issue.

      Keywords

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