BACKGROUND: The admission of a newborn infant to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) due to preterm birth or high-risk conditions, such as perinatal injury, sepsis, hypoxia, congenital malformation, or brain injury, is a stressful experience for mothers. There is currently a lack of research on maternal perceived stress and support in Egyptian NICUs and no validated Arabic tool to investigate this further.
PURPOSE: To determine the reliability and validity of the Arabic language versions of the Parental Stressor Scale: NICU (PSS:NICU) and the Nurse Parental Support Tool (NPST).
METHODS: Egyptian mothers completed the PSS:NICU and the NPST at the time of their infants' discharge from the NICU. Reliability was assessed with Cronbach α and Spearman-Brown coefficient. The multifactorial structure of the PSS:NICU Arabic version was tested. Associations with sociodemographic and clinical variables were explored with bivariate correlations and t tests.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight mothers of preterm (PT) infants and 52 mothers of ill full-term (IFT) infants completed the study. Mothers of PT and IFT infants did not differ for sociodemographic variables. High internal consistency (α range between .93 and .96) emerged for both tools. Spearman-Brown coefficients ranged between 0.86 and 0.94. The multidimensional structure of the PSS:NICU was confirmed and 3 core dimensions explained up to 71.48% of the variance. Perceived nursing support did not diminish the effects of stress in mothers of infants admitted to the NICU, regardless of PT or IFT infants' status. A longer NICU stay was associated with greater stress in mothers of PT infants. The presence of comorbidities was significantly associated with stress of mothers of IFT infants.
IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: Future research is needed to develop evidence-based support for mothers whose infants are admitted to a NICU in Egypt. The availability of validated and reliable PSS:NICU and NPST scales in Arabic will facilitate cross-country and cross-cultural research on maternal stress in the NICU.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Neonatal care nurses in Egypt will be able to increase their understanding of the stressors experienced by mothers of infants admitted to the NICU. This will in turn enable the introduction of neonatal care policies aimed at reducing specific stressors and provide improved maternal support.