Numerous research studies have shown that the experience of having a child admitted to the Pediatric intensive Care Unit (PICU) can be extremely stressful for parents. Parents are exposed to sudden stressful changes in their new environment and in their parental role. However, there has been virtually no research about the long-term effect of the PICU experience on parental stress symptoms and only a few studies that have examined the post-discharge outcome of family functioning. Yet these studies in particular have some methodological limitations that warrant further investigation. McCubbin and McCubbin's Resilience Model of Family Stress, Adjustment, and adaptation provide the theoretical framework for studying the effects of the PICU environment on family functioning. The overall aim of this study is to prospectively examine the long-term effects of the PICU experience on family functioning and parental stress. Families with critically-ill children who have been hospitalized in the PICU will be compared with two other groups of families:(a) families with ill children who were hospitalized on a general care unit, and (b) families with ill children who have not been hospitalized. It is postulated that the PICU experience is perceived as more stressful than a general care experience and, therefore, has the potential for more significant long-term consequence for the family system.
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|Board, Rhonda; Ryan-Wenger, Nancy (2002) Long-term effects of pediatric intensive care unit hospitalization on families with young children. Heart Lung 31:53-66|