Quality of Life Research

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1119–1131 | Cite as

Quality of life among parents of preterm infants: a scoping review

  • Mariana Amorim
  • Susana Silva
  • Michelle Kelly-Irving
  • Elisabete Alves



To synthesize the body of knowledge on the factors influencing the QoL of mothers and fathers of preterm infants.


A scoping review was performed. Publications indexed in PubMed®, Web of Science™, CINAHL® and PsycINFO® were searched, targeting studies presenting original empirical data that examined parental perception on QoL after a preterm delivery. Eligibility and data extraction were conducted by two independent researchers. The main quantitative findings were synthesized and qualitative data were explored by content analysis.


The studies, 11 quantitative and 1 mixed methods, were derived mainly from the USA (n = 6). Heterogeneity across the studies was observed regarding the operationalization of QoL and the use of units of analysis (mothers, parents, families and caregivers). In a context where 40 out of 45 covariates were analysed by only one or two studies, results suggested that parental QoL after a preterm delivery is influenced by factors related with mother’s characteristics, family issues and health care environment rather than infants’ variables. Factors regarding fathers’ characteristics and structural levels were not addressed.


Standardizing the operationalization of the QoL when analysing mothers and fathers of preterm infants calls for a structured questionnaire adapted to their specific needs. Further research should include both mothers and fathers, invest in mixed methods approaches and be performed in different countries and settings for allowing integration and comparison of findings.


Quality of life Premature birth Parents Family-integrated care Scoping review 



This work was supported by FEDER funding from the Operational Programme Factors of Competitiveness—COMPETE and by national funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology—FCT (Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education) under the project “Parenting roles and knowledge in Neonatal Intensive Care Units” (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-019902; Ref. FCT PTDC/CS-ECS/120750/2010) and the Unidade de Investigação em Epidemiologia—Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (EPIUnit) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006862; Ref. UID/DTP/04750/2013); the grants PD/BD/105830/2014 (to MA), SFRH/BPD/103562/2014 (to EA), co-funded by the FCT and the POPH/FSE Program and the FCT Investigator contract IF/01674/2015 (to SS).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPIUnit - Instituto de Saúde Pública, Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação MédicaFaculdade de Medicina, Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Global Public Health Doctoral ProgrammePortoPortugal
  4. 4.INSERM UMR1027ToulouseFrance
  5. 5.Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, UMR1027ToulouseFrance

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