Effects on Parental Stress of Early Home-Based CareToy Intervention in Low-Risk Preterm Infants.
ABSTRACT: Parenting a preterm infant is more challenging than a full-term one. Parent involvement in early intervention programs seems to have positive psychosocial effects on both the child and parent. CareToy is an innovative smart system that provides an intensive individualized home-based family-centred EI in preterm infants between 3 and 9 age-corrected months. A RCT study, preceded by a pilot study, has been recently carried out to evaluate the effects of CareToy intervention on neurodevelopmental outcomes with respect to Standard Care. This study aims at evaluating the effects of CareToy early intervention on parenting stress in preterm infants. Parents (mother and father) of a subgroup of infants enrolled in the RCT filled out a self-report questionnaire on parenting stress (Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI-SF)) before (T0) and after (T1) the CareToy or Standard Care period (4 weeks), according to the allocation of their preterm infant. For twins, an individual questionnaire for each one was filled out. Results obtained from mothers and fathers were separately analysed with nonparametric tests. 44 mothers and 44 fathers of 44 infants (24 CareToy/20 Standard Care) filled out the PSI-SF at T0 and at T1. CareToy intervention was mainly managed by mothers. A significant (p < 0.05) reduction in Parental Distress subscale in the CareToy group versus Standard Care was found in the mothers. No differences were found among the fathers. CareToy training seems to be effective in reducing parental distress in mothers, who spent more time on CareToy intervention. These findings confirm the importance of parental involvement in early intervention programs. This trial is registered with Clinical Trial.gov NCT01990183.
Project description:With improved medical outcome in preterm infants, the psychosocial situation of their families is receiving increasing attention. For parents, the birth of a preterm infant is generally regarded as a stressful experience, and therefore many interventions are based on reducing parental stress. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether parents of children born preterm experience more stress than parents of term-born children, which would justify these interventions. This meta-analysis provides a comprehensive account of parental stress in parents of preterm infants, from birth of the infant through to their adolescence. Mean levels of stress in specific domains of family functioning were investigated, and stress levels in parents of preterm and term infants, and fathers and mothers of preterm infants, were compared. Furthermore, we investigated moderators of parental stress.A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted including 38 studies describing 3025 parents of preterm (<37 wk) and low birth weight (<2500 g) infants. Parental stress was measured with two parent-reported questionnaires, the Parenting Stress Index and the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The results indicate that parents of preterm-born children experience only slightly more stress than parents of term-born children, with small effect sizes. Furthermore, mothers have slightly more stress than fathers, but these effect sizes are also small. Parents report more stress for infants with lower gestational ages and lower birth weights. There is a strong effect for infant birth year, with decreasing parental stress from the 1980s onward, probably due to increased quality of care for preterm infants.Based on our findings we argue that prematurity can best be regarded as one of the possible complications of birth, and not as a source of stress in itself.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous studies showed that parents of very preterm infants expressed feelings of incompetence and experienced high levels of stress upon the discharge of their infants. We conducted a systematic review of seven studies and observed potential benefits for parental outcomes when using discharge interventions that adopted guided participation (GP). More evidence is needed on the effective doses of discharge interventions underpinned by the principles of GP. AIM:To investigate the feasibility and preliminarily estimate the effects on parental competence and stress outcomes of a newly developed, nurse-led, GP discharge program for mothers of very preterm infants. METHODS:A two-arm randomized controlled trial was conducted in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Mothers of infants with gestational ages of ?32?weeks who had no congenital malformations and did not need to undergo major surgeries were recruited. All mothers were the primary caregivers to their infants. The intervention group received a nurse-led GP discharge intervention (three structured 30- to 60-min GP sessions and one follow-up phone call). The control group received usual care. The parental outcomes were measured using the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (C-PSOC) and Perceived Stress Scale (C-PSS) at baseline (T0), on the day of discharge (T1), after the follow-up phone call (within 72?h after discharge) (T2), and 1?month after discharge (T3). The outcomes were analyzed using generalized estimating equations based on intention-to-treat principles. RESULTS:Thirty infant-mother dyads were recruited. Greater improvements in the C-PSOC score were observed in the intervention group than in the control group at T1 and T2, although these differences were statistically insignificant. The intervention group exhibited greater improvements than the control group in the C-PSS scores at T1, T2, and T3, although these differences were also not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:The findings suggest that a GP discharge intervention could improve parenting competence and stress among mothers with very preterm infants. The absence of adverse events suggests that the GP discharge intervention could be feasibly implemented in NICU settings. This feasibility study was not powered to determine the effectiveness of the intervention but is anticipated to lay the foundation for a future full-scale study. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03668912. Date of registration: 13 September 2018 (retrospectively registered).
Project description:BACKGROUND:It is well documented that heightened levels of parenting stress have a negative influence on children's socio-emotional and behavioral development. Parenting stress may therefore be regarded as an outcome variable in its own right. This study investigated whether a sensitizing intervention influences stress reported by parents of prematurely born children until the children were age nine. METHODS:Preterm infants (N = 146, birth weight <2,000 g) were randomized to intervention (N = 72) with the Mother-Infant Transaction Program (MITP) or a preterm control group (N = 74) that received standard hospital care. A term reference group comprised 75 healthy, full-term neonates. Parents reported on the Parenting Stress Index (PSI) when the children were 6 months, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 years old and on the PSI-Short Form (PSI-SF) at age 9. Main outcomes were the mother's and father's reports of total, child and parent-related stress. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were performed using linear mixed models (LMM), taking dependency in the data caused by twin pairs and repeated measures into account. Response rates were high across all follow-ups, and still reached 85% from mothers and 72% from fathers at 9 years. RESULTS:Mothers in the intervention group reported better longitudinal development of child-related stress than mothers of preterm controls, as they perceived their children as being more adaptable and less moody throughout childhood until the age of seven. Less stress in the intervention group was revealed by cross-sectional analysis of maternal reports at all ages, while fathers reported similar differences at ages three and five. Parents in the intervention group reported stronger agreement on several stress scores on several occasions. Fathers with high interventional participation (mean 54%) reported significantly less stress at age nine than those who participated less. Both parents in the intervention group reported levels of stress similar to those experienced by the term reference group at all follow-ups, while differences between the preterm control and term reference groups increased. CONCLUSIONS:This early intervention reduces stress among parents of prematurely born children to a level reported by parents of term-born children and enhances agreement between parents. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinical Trials Gov identifier NCT00222456, 05.09.2005.
Project description:Background:Family-based strategies to reduce the risk of overweight in childhood are needed in the Caribbean. Aim:To investigate the associations between parental characteristics and risk of overweight and explore possible mechanisms. Methods:Data from a parenting intervention were analysed. Parental characteristics were obtained by questionnaire at enrolment. At 18 months, 501 infants (82.9% of cohort) had weight and length measured using standardized methods. The association of parents' characteristics with risk of infant overweight was assessed using random-effects logistic regression. Four focus groups among mothers in Jamaica were conducted to explore mechanisms. Results:Overall, 20.6% of infants were 'at risk of overweight'. Fathers were present in 52% of households. Fathers' presence [OR (95% CI) 0.60 (0.37-0.96)] was associated with reduced risk of overweight independent of socioeconomic status. Mothers reported that fathers encouraged healthier practices. Conclusion:Fathers may be important agents of change in intervention strategies to prevent childhood overweight.
Project description:The first postpartum months constitute a critical period for parents to establish an emotional bond with their infants. Neural responses to infant-related stimuli have been associated with parental sensitivity. However, the associations among these neural responses, parenting, and later infant outcomes for mothers and fathers are unknown. In the current longitudinal study, we investigated the relationships between parental thoughts/actions and neural activation in mothers and fathers in the neonatal period with infant outcomes at the toddler stage. At the first month postpartum, mothers (n = 21) and fathers (n = 19) underwent a neuroimaging session during which they listened to their own and unfamiliar baby's cry. Parenting-related thoughts/behaviors were assessed by interview twice at the first month and 3-4 months postpartum and infants' socioemotional outcomes were reported by mothers and fathers at 18-24 months postpartum. In mothers, higher levels of anxious thoughts/actions about parenting at the first month postpartum, but not at 3-4 months postpartum, were associated with infant's low socioemotional competencies at 18-24 months. Anxious thoughts/actions were also associated with heightened responses in the motor cortex and reduced responses in the substantia nigra to own infant cry sounds. On the other hand, in fathers, higher levels of positive perception of being a parent at the first month postpartum, but not at 3-4 months postpartum, were associated with higher infant socioemotional competencies at 18-24 months. Positive thoughts were associated with heightened responses in the auditory cortex and caudate to own infant cry sounds. The current study provides evidence that parental thoughts are related to concurrent neural responses to their infants at the first month postpartum as well as their infant's future socioemotional outcome at 18-24 months. Parent differences suggest that anxious thoughts in mothers and positive thoughts in fathers may be the targets for parenting-focused interventions very early postpartum.
Project description:Previous research suggests that mothers' and fathers' parenting may be differentially influenced by marital and child factors within the family. Some research indicates that marital stress is more influential in fathers' than mothers' parenting, whereas other research shows that children's difficult behavior preferentially affects mothers' parenting. The present study examined marital stress and children's externalizing behavior in middle childhood as predictors of mothers' versus fathers' consistency, monitoring, and support and care in early adolescence, and the subsequent associations of these parenting behaviors with externalizing behavior 1.5 years later. Pathways were examined within a longitudinal mediation model testing for moderation by parent gender (N = 276 mothers, N = 229 fathers). Children's externalizing behavior in middle childhood was found to more strongly inversely predict mothers' versus fathers' monitoring in early adolescence. In contrast, marital stress more strongly predicted low monitoring for fathers than for mothers. Regardless of parent gender, marital stress predicted lower levels of parental consistency, and children's externalizing behavior predicted lower levels of parental support. Mothers' monitoring and fathers' support in early adolescence predicted lower levels of externalizing behavior 1.5 years later. The results are discussed with respect to family transactions relative to parent gender and implications for intervention.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Although there is an established link between parenting stress, postnatal depression, and anxiety, no study has yet investigated this link in first-time parental couples. The specific aims of this study were 1) to investigate whether there were any differences between first-time fathers' and mothers' postnatal parenting stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms and to see their evolution between three and 6 months after their child's birth; and 2) to explore how each parent's parenting stress and anxiety levels and the anxiety levels and depressive symptoms of their partners contributed to parental postnatal depression. METHOD:The sample included 362 parents (181 couples; mothers' M Age = 35.03, SD = 4.7; fathers' M Age = 37.9, SD = 5.6) of healthy babies. At three (T1) and 6 months (T2) postpartum, both parents filled out, in a counterbalanced order, the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. RESULTS:The analyses showed that compared to fathers, mothers reported higher scores on postpartum anxiety, depression, and parenting stress. The scores for all measures for both mothers and fathers decreased from T1 to T2. However, a path analysis suggested that the persistence of both maternal and paternal postnatal depression was directly influenced by the parent's own levels of anxiety and parenting stress and by the presence of depression in his/her partner. DISCUSSION:This study highlights the relevant impact and effects of both maternal and paternal stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms during the transition to parenthood. Therefore, to provide efficacious, targeted, early interventions, perinatal screening should be directed at both parents.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To classify NICU interventions for parental distress and quantify their effectiveness. STUDY DESIGN:We systematically reviewed controlled studies published before 2017 measuring NICU parental distress, defined broad intervention categories, and used random-effects meta-analysis to quantify treatment effectiveness. RESULTS:Among 1643 unique records, 58 eligible trials predominantly studied mothers of preterm infants. Interventions tested in 22 randomized trials decreased parental distress (p?<?0.001) and demonstrated improvement beyond 6 months (p?<?0.005). In subgroup analyses, complementary/alternative medicine and family-centered instruction interventions each decreased distress symptoms (p?<?0.01), with fathers and mothers improving to similar extents. Most psychotherapy studies decreased distress individually but did not qualify for meta-analysis as a group. CONCLUSION:NICU interventions modestly reduced parental distress. We identified family-centered instruction as a target for implementation and complementary/alternative medicine as a target for further study. Investigators must develop psychosocial interventions that serve NICU parents at large, including fathers and parents of full-term infants.
Project description:Although contemporary socio-cultural changes dramatically increased fathers' involvement in childrearing, little is known about the brain basis of human fatherhood, its comparability with the maternal brain, and its sensitivity to caregiving experiences. We measured parental brain response to infant stimuli using functional MRI, oxytocin, and parenting behavior in three groups of parents (n = 89) raising their firstborn infant: heterosexual primary-caregiving mothers (PC-Mothers), heterosexual secondary-caregiving fathers (SC-Fathers), and primary-caregiving homosexual fathers (PC-Fathers) rearing infants without maternal involvement. Results revealed that parenting implemented a global "parental caregiving" neural network, mainly consistent across parents, which integrated functioning of two systems: the emotional processing network including subcortical and paralimbic structures associated with vigilance, salience, reward, and motivation, and mentalizing network involving frontopolar-medial-prefrontal and temporo-parietal circuits implicated in social understanding and cognitive empathy. These networks work in concert to imbue infant care with emotional salience, attune with the infant state, and plan adequate parenting. PC-Mothers showed greater activation in emotion processing structures, correlated with oxytocin and parent-infant synchrony, whereas SC-Fathers displayed greater activation in cortical circuits, associated with oxytocin and parenting. PC-Fathers exhibited high amygdala activation similar to PC-Mothers, alongside high activation of superior temporal sulcus (STS) comparable to SC-Fathers, and functional connectivity between amygdala and STS. Among all fathers, time spent in direct childcare was linked with the degree of amygdala-STS connectivity. Findings underscore the common neural basis of maternal and paternal care, chart brain-hormone-behavior pathways that support parenthood, and specify mechanisms of brain malleability with caregiving experiences in human fathers.
Project description:Fathering plays an important role in infants' socioemotional and cognitive development. Previous studies have identified brain regions that are important for parenting behavior in human mothers. However, the neural basis of parenting in human fathers is largely unexplored. In the current longitudinal study, we investigated structural changes in fathers' brains during the first 4 months postpartum using voxel-based morphometry analysis. Biological fathers (n = 16) with full-term, healthy infants were scanned at 2-4 weeks postpartum (time 1) and at 12-16 weeks postpartum (time 2). Fathers exhibited increase in gray matter (GM) volume in several neural regions involved in parental motivation, including the hypothalamus, amygdala, striatum, and lateral prefrontal cortex. On the other hand, fathers exhibited decreases in GM volume in the orbitofrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and insula. The findings provide evidence for neural plasticity in fathers' brains. We also discuss the distinct patterns of associations among neural changes, postpartum mood symptoms, and parenting behaviors among fathers.