While we know that the parents of infants with congenital heart disease (CHD), the most prevalent group of congenital anomalies, experience increased parenting stress, the stress levels throughout infancy have yet to be studied. Stress experienced by parents beyond the normative stress of parenting can interfere with parenting processes, and bear adverse family outcomes. This prospective cohort study was conducted to describe and compare parenting stress levels during infancy between parents of infants with complex CHD and parents of healthy infants. The Parenting Stress Index-Long Form was distributed to parents of infants with complex CHD and parents of healthy infants (N = 129). T-tests were used to compare stress between groups at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. Parents of infants with complex CHD had higher parenting stress than parents of healthy infants on multiple subscales on the Child and Parent Domains, at 3 months of age. The stress remained higher on the demandingness subscale throughout infancy. Parents of CHD infants also demonstrated significantly higher stress scores on the life stress subscale at 12 months of age. Findings highlight stressful periods related to parenting infants with CHD, which may increase existing psycho-social risk for parents of infants with CHD. Early family intervention may promote parental adaptation to the illness, and help establishing healthy parenting practices.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NINR R01 NR002093; MO1-RR00240; UL1-RR-024134) and by Sigma Theta Tau International Small Grants.
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.
- Congenital heart disease
- Parenting stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas