Understanding stress measurement and adjustment in parents of premature infants

  • Catalina Suarez

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


1) Systematic Review: A review of the usefulness and psychometric properties of the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS: NICU) for measuring stress in parents of infants hospitalised in intensive care units across countries

The purpose of this study was to review publications which have examined the psychometric properties of the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS:NICU), a self-report situation specific assessment for parents of hospitalised infants. The methodological quality of the psychometric measurement properties was assessed using the Consensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist. A narrative synthesis was conducted across studies to synthesise the psychometric properties examined, PSS:NICU scores, and descriptive data. 

2) Empirical Study: Parents of Premature Infants: Exploring Experiences& Parent-Infant Relations. A Thematic Analysis
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore primary caregivers’ experiences of having an infant born prematurely (28-32 weeks gestation). In particular, the study aimed to explore the developing parent-infant relationship 12-30 months since birth and the developing parent identity whilst their infant was hospitalised and following discharge. Semi-structured interviews comprised open-ended questions and visual stimuli which consisted of photographs brought by participants and word selection techniques. Transcripts were analysed using Braun & Clarke’s (2013) thematic analysis procedure and the data were managed using NVivo-12 software. 

Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorPauline Adair (Supervisor), David McCormack (Supervisor) & Nicola Doherty (Supervisor)


  • Parental adjustment
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • parental stress
  • parental wellbeing
  • parents of hospitalised infants
  • premature infants
  • parental stressor scale
  • psychometric properties

Cite this