THE EFFECTS OF FAMILY RESOURCES, COPING, AND STRAINS ON FAMILY ADJUSTMENT 18 TO 24 MONTHS AFTER THE NICU EXPERIENCE
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PURPOSE: To examine the relationship of family coping, resources, and strains on family adjustment over time following the NICU experience. DESIGN: Longitudinal, correlational study based on the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation. SAMPLE: Data were collected, through mailed questionnaires, from 71 couples, 18 to 24 months following the birth of their infant. The data are a follow-up from a previous study conducted at the time of the infant's birth. MAIN OUTCOME VARIABLES: The dependent variable in the study was family adjustment, measured by the McMaster Family Assessment Device. The independent variables were family resources, as measured by the Family Inventory of Resource Management; family coping, as measured by the Family Crisis Oriented Evaluation Scales; family strain, as measured by the Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes; and parent gender, family system (first-time parent or not), and the child's health, as measured by the Demographic Information Questionnaire. RESULTS: Family adjustment improved over time for mothers but decreased for fathers. Fathers of infants with ongoing health problems reported significantly poorer family adjustment. Family resources were related to family adjustment and decreased over time for both parents. Families used more coping mechanisms and different coping patterns over time.
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