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Title: Posttraumatic stress symptoms in fathers of very low birth weight infants two to four years postpartum
Author: Alexander, Amy Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 0291
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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The birth and hospitalisation of a very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 grams) infant is often extremely traumatic for parents. Mothers of VLBW infants experience significantly higher rates of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) than mothers of full-term infants two to three years postpartum (Åhlund, Clarke, Hill, & Thalange, 2009). A pilot study was conducted to examine self-reported PTSS in fathers of VLBW infants two to four years postpartum compared with fathers of term infants. Results were compared with the maternal data from the study by Åhlund et al. (2009). Additional data were collected on self-reported levels of anxiety and depression in fathers. Questionnaire packs containing the Impact of Events Scale-Revised, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Seven Item Scale were posted to fathers of infants born two to four years previously. Fathers reported on PTSS relating to the birth and hospitalisation of their infant and current anxiety and depression symptoms. Perceived levels of social support at the time of the birth of their infant were also measured. Responses were received from 26 fathers of VLBW infants and 22 fathers of term infants. PTSS levels were significantly higher in fathers of VLBW infants than those of term infants U = 80.0, z = -4.31, p < .001 and PTSS levels did not significantly differ between fathers and mothers U = 222, z = -1.76, p = .079. There was a significant association between VLBW fathers’ levels of perceived social support and PTSS, but not with anxiety or depression. In conclusion, PTSS are found in fathers of VLBW infants two to four years postpartum and at similar levels to those found in mothers. Implications are discussed with particular reference to increasing psychological support for fathers following the birth of their VLBW infant and areas for further research are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available