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An educational-behavioural intervention for parents of preterm infants reduced parental stress in the NICU and infant length of stay

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Q Does an educational-behavioural intervention for parents of premature infants improve parent-infant interactions and parental mental health and reduce infant length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial (Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment [COPE] NICU programme).

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:

blinded (primary care nurses and outcome assessors of parent-infant interactions).

Embedded ImageFollow up period:

2 months corrected infant age.

Embedded ImageSetting:

2 NICUs in Syracuse and Rochester, New York, USA.

Embedded ImageParticipants:

258 mothers (mean age 28 y) and 154 fathers/significant others (mean age 31 y) ⩾18 years of age (260 families) who could read and speak English, had not had another infant admitted to the NICU, and who had singleton infants (52% girls) born at the study sites with a gestational age of 26–34 weeks (mean 31 wks), birth weight <2500 g (mean 1650 g) and appropriate for …

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  • For correspondence: Dr B M Melnyk, Arizona State University College of Nursing, Phoenix, AZ, USA. bernadette.melnyk{at}

  • Source of funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research.