Measuring maternal stress and perceived support in 25 Italian NICUs

Livio Provenzi, Renato Borgatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To determine the validity and reliability of the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS: NICU) and the Nurse Parental Support Tool (NPST) for use with Italian parents; to investigate to which extent demographic variables and ⁄ or situational factors affect NICU-related maternal stress. Methods: Mothers (N = 156) of very preterm (VPT) infants from 25 Italian NICUs completed a socio-demographic form, the PSS: NICU and the NPST at discharge. Psychometric properties of both tools were evaluated. Results: High internal consistency and split-half reliability were found for both measures. The multi-dimensional structure of the PSS:NICU was confirmed. Alteration in parental role emerged as the greatest source of NICU-related stress. Length of stay in NICU and familiar socio-economic status explained partial variance in the PSS: NICU scores. NPST score mitigates the stress because of the infant’s appearance and behaviour, but not that related to the parental role alteration. Conclusions: PSS: NICU and NPST demonstrated adequate psychometric properties in a large sample of Italian mothers. The need for a psychologically informed support to NICU mothers is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Healthy preterms
  • Maternal stress
  • Methodological study
  • Neonatal intensive care
  • Nursing


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