Parental Coping in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

  • Richard J. ShawEmail author
  • Rebecca S. Bernard
  • Amy Storfer-Isser
  • William Rhine
  • Sarah M. Horwitz


Fifty-six mothers of premature infants who participated in a study to reduce symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) completed the Brief COPE, a self-report inventory of coping mechanisms, the Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire to assess acute stress disorder (ASD) and the Davidson Trauma Scale to assess PTSD. 18 % of mothers had baseline ASD while 30 % of mothers met the criteria for PTSD at the 1-month follow-up. Dysfunctional coping as measured by the Brief COPE was positively associated with elevated risk of PTSD in these mothers (RR = 1.09, 95 % CI 1.02–1.15; p = .008). Maternal education was positively associated with PTSD; each year increase in education was associated with a 17 % increase in the relative risk of PTSD at 1 month follow-up (RR = 1.17, 95 % CI 1.02–1.35; p = .03). Results suggest that dysfunctional coping is an important issue to consider in the development of PTSD in parents of premature infants.


PTSD Neonatal intensive care unit Coping 



This project was supported by funding from NIH M01 RR00070 for General Clinical Research Center Program, Stanford University School of Medicine and RO1-MH086579A to Drs. Shaw and Horwitz.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Shaw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca S. Bernard
    • 2
  • Amy Storfer-Isser
    • 3
  • William Rhine
    • 4
  • Sarah M. Horwitz
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.San Diego Center for ChildrenSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Statistical Research Consultants, LLCPerrysburgUSA
  4. 4.Division of Neonatology, Lucile Packard Children’s HospitalStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics and Stanford Health PolicyStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA

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