Posttraumatic Stress in Mothers While Their Preterm Infants Are in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit: A Mixed Research Synthesis

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Abstract

In this mixed research synthesis on posttraumatic stress in mothers related to their preterm infants' stay in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), we synthesized and integrated a total of 37 studies, 25 of which were quantitative and 12 were qualitative studies. The prevalence rates of NICU mothers with elevated posttraumatic stress symptoms ranged from 18% in the United States to 81% in Turkey. Nine of the 12 studies testing interventions to decrease mothers' stress related to their NICU experiences reported significant results. Content analysis of the qualitative studies' findings revealed 5 themes: stark contrast to images of joyous motherhood, cultural overlay, issues of ownership and control, support, and learning to be a NICU mother.

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