Stress levels in parents of neonates: an underrated aspect of neonatal intensive care?


parental stress level
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
stressor scale
neonatal care
parental response

How to Cite

Mallapu, H., Tamilarasan, P., Bondada, H. K., & Arunagirinathan, A. (2023). Stress levels in parents of neonates: an underrated aspect of neonatal intensive care?. Journal of Pediatric and Neonatal Individualized Medicine (JPNIM), 12(2), e120211.


Aim: A neonate requiring admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can cause significant stress and anxiety for parents. To evaluate this, a validated questionnaire was used to assess parents’ perceptions of stressors within the physical and psychosocial environment of the NICU. Furthermore, the questionnaire aimed to identify socio-demographic factors that play a role in influencing stress levels.

Methods: A validated questionnaire known as the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PSS:NICU), developed by Miles et al., was employed to evaluate parents’ stress levels across 4 domains encompassing a total of 34 items. Parental stress levels were classified based on Likert scale points as low (1-2.9), medium (3-3.9), and high (4-5). 

Results: The study involved a total of 55 participating parents, with the majority (54.5%) experiencing a medium level of stress. Analysis of socio-demographic factors revealed that mothers with lower levels of education, as well as parents of term neonates and female neonates, exhibited higher stress levels. However, no significant correlations were observed between parental stress levels and factors such as the father’s education, parental age, family income, birth order, weight of the neonate, and mode of delivery.

Conclusion: The use of the PSS:NICU in every NICU can aid in identifying parental stress levels and relevant socio-demographic and neonatal factors. This valuable information can be used to provide optimal care for the parents of neonates. By incorporating this approach, we can effectively promote Family-Centered Developmental Care (FCDC) in the NICU setting.