Predictors of psychological functioning in mothers and fathers of infants born with severe congenital heart disease

Nicola Doherty, Chris McCusker, Bernadette Molloy, Connor Mulholland, Nichola Rooney, Brian Craig, Andrew Sands, Moira Stewart, Francis Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined mental health and coping styles in both mothers and fathers of infants born with a severe congenital heart defect. Factors associated with mental health outcomes were elucidated. Parents of 70 infants, recently born with a severe congenital heart defect, completed questionnaires which examined psychological functioning and coping strategies. Disease, surgical and psychosocial factors were examined for their significance in predicting psychological functioning. Findings indicated elevated levels of clinically significant psychological distress in mothers, compared to fathers, and differences between parents in coping styles. Regression analyses suggested that the extent of distress in both parents was not primarily predicted by illness or demographic factors. Rather, certain coping styles, knowledge, subjective worry and family functioning emerged as significant predictive variables. Implications for early intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this