|dc.description.abstract||Advances in medical science have increased the number of children surviving
illnesses and injuries that would have otherwise been fatal. Parents who have a critically
ill child in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) often experience extreme levels of
stress and poor coping.
The purpose of this exploratory study was to explore parental stress and coping in
a diverse group of parents of a critically ill child. This exploratory study used a
descriptive-comparative and correlational research design. The Resiliency Model of
Family Stress, Adjustment, and Adaptation (McCubbin & McCubbin, 1993) was used as
a theoretical framework for the study. A convenience sample consisted of 86 participants
(84 parents, one aunt, and one foster parent) and of the participants, 48 were lone
respondents and 38 were from 19 2-parent dyads.
Data were collected in a large freestanding children’s hospital in the Southwest.
Parental stress was measured by the Parental Stressor Scale:PICU (PSS:PICU; Carter &
Miles, 1983). Parental coping was measured by the Coping Health Inventory for Parents
(CHIP) (McCubbin, McCubbin et al., 1983).
Results demonstrated that both mothers and fathers rated the PICU experience as
stressful and rated parent roles and child behaviors/emotions as the most stressful aspects
of having a critically ill child. There was no statistical difference between mothers and
fathers in total stressor scores. Both mothers and fathers used three coping patterns of
CHIP, listed from most helpful to least helpful: Coping Pattern I, II, and III. There was a
statistically significant difference in the mean scores on Coping Pattern I and Coping
Pattern II between mothers and fathers which indicated that mothers found the coping
strategies more helpful than fathers. Regression results indicated that income and whether
the hospitalization was planned accounted for 19% of the total stressor score. In terms of
coping, gender, income, and child age accounted 41% of the variance in Coping Pattern I
scores. Whereas, income, parent gender, and nursing acuity accounted for 40% of the
variance in Coping Pattern II scores. Neither the parent demographic variables nor the
child demographic or clinical variables significantly predicted Coping Pattern III scores.||en_US