Stress and coping of parents of children in a pediatric intensive care unit.


Knowing what parents find stressful about having a child in a pediatric intensive care unit and how they cope is essential before professionals can bolster their coping and provide support. In a semistructured interview we asked parents to discuss the aspects of the situation that they found stressful and to identify their predominant stressor. Then, using the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, we asked them to identify what coping strategies they used to cope with that predominant stressor. The questionnaire is designed to measure whether the strategies used are focused on the problem (situation) or on emotions engendered by the stressor or on both. Data on selected demographic characteristics of the family also were obtained. Fifty percent of the parent subjects identified stressors that were classified as loss of parenting role, 40% uncertainty over outcome, and 10% information need. Although the specific coping strategies used differed by the classification of stressors, all of the parents used a combination of both problem- and emotion-focused forms of coping. Seeking social support and positive reappraisal were the two most often used strategies by all parents regardless of the classification of stressors. No significant associations were found between stress or coping and any of the demographic variables. Research such as this can be useful to practicing clinicians who plan strategies that offer assistance and emotional support to parents of children hospitalized in the pediatric intensive care unit.


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@article{Lamontagne1990StressAC, title={Stress and coping of parents of children in a pediatric intensive care unit.}, author={Lynda L Lamontagne and Rosalyn Pawlak}, journal={Heart & lung : the journal of critical care}, year={1990}, volume={19 4}, pages={416-21} }