Reducing Anxiety Among Children Born preterm and Their Young Mothers

Krista L. Oswalt is a Research Assistant Professor, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. She can be reached via e-mail at Darya Bonds McClain is a Research Associate Professor, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. Bernadette Melnyk is an Associate Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer, Dean and Professor, College of Nursing, Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry, College of Medicine, College of Nursing, Ohio State University.
MCN. The American journal of maternal child nursing (Impact Factor: 0.9). 05/2013; 38(3):144-149. DOI: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e318286140c
Source: PubMed


To examine the efficacy of COPE on maternal and child anxiety associated with younger mothers of premature infants. The COPE program provides instruction and practice in parenting behaviors specific to the NICU, in combination with information that reduces ambiguity about their infant's appearance and behaviors.

Study design and methods:
Secondary data analysis was conducted on data obtained from a larger randomized controlled trial with 253 mothers of low birthweight premature infants to examine the efficacy of the Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment (COPE) program, an educational-behavioral parent intervention in the NICU, on maternal and child anxiety based on maternal age. For these analyses, child and maternal anxiety were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 2 to 3 and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory collected at 24 months and 2 to 4 days postintervention, respectively. To test study hypotheses, we conducted multiple regression models using the structural equation modeling approach to path analysis.

Multiple regression results for the full model indicated that there was a significant COPE × mothers' age interaction effect on both mothers' anxiety and child anxiety. Participation in the COPE program significantly predicted lower levels of mothers' anxiety at postintervention as well as lower levels of child anxiety at 24 months for younger mothers (18-21 years old), but not for mothers over 21 years old.

Clinical implications:
Participating in COPE was associated with more favorable mental health outcomes for younger mothers and their children than mothers over 21 years old. Participation in the COPE program may help close the health disparities gap by improving behaviors in infants of younger mothers to rates similar to those of children of mothers over 21 years old.

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Available from: Krista L Oswalt, Jul 16, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: This review presents data from studies that report on adolescent parents as part of larger neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parent populations, as well as studies where adolescent parents are given central consideration. A systematic search for English publications from 1990 onward relevant to adolescent parenting in the NICU was conducted. Most studies reporting on adolescent parents focus on parental stress or parenting practices in the NICU. A few studies examine parent-staff communication, parental needs, and parent intervention programs. One study presents a qualitative examination of teenage mothers' experiences in the NICU. Areas for further research include experiences of younger adolescent parents, adolescent fathers, and same-sex partners; issues unique to adolescent parents; and support programs for adolescent parents in the NICU.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Adolescent Health