Measuring parents' experiences and satisfaction with care during very preterm birth: a questionnaire development study

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To develop a questionnaire to assess parents' experiences and satisfaction with care during very preterm birth.


Questionnaire development.


Parents whose babies had been cared for at five tertiary neonatal units in England.


A total of 145 women who gave birth before 32 weeks of gestation, and 85 of their partners.


A 30-item questionnaire was developed on the basis of qualitative interviews with parents of very preterm babies, a literature review and discussion with relevant experts. The questionnaire was posted to a second group of parents, and its reliability and validity were explored.

Main outcome measures

The Preterm Birth Experience and Satisfaction Scale (P-BESS) was correlated with two global questions measuring satisfaction with care during the birth. Internal consistency was measured using Cronbach's α.


Parents of 458 babies were invited to take part and 147 (32%) responded. Two women and 22 partners were excluded or ineligible, leaving 145 women and 85 partners. Factor analysis produced three clear dimensions: Staff professionalism and empathy, Information and explanations, and Confidence in staff. The total scale and three subscales showed high reliability. Strong positive correlations were found between the questionnaire scales and the two global questions, indicating convergent validity. For women whose partners were present at the birth, a fourth factor was identified ‘Partner Involvement’.


The P-BESS appears to be a valid measure of satisfaction with care during very preterm birth.

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