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Title page for ETD etd-12102015-163939

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Clarkson, Gina Alexandria Zima
URN etd-12102015-163939
Title Factors Influencing Paternal Involvement in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Degree PhD
Department Nursing Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Mary Jo Gilmer Committee Chair
Dr. Brent McBride Committee Member
Dr. Elizabeth Moore Committee Member
Dr. Mary Dietrich Committee Member
  • NICU
  • father
  • nursing
  • infant
Date of Defense 2015-12-04
Availability unrestricted
Father involvement research has shown that fatherhood is important to the behavioral and physiological development of children. Children with involved fathers have lower rates of teenage delinquency and pregnancy, improved academic outcomes, and improvements in major health determinants. While there have been many studies of father involvement, there have been fewer studies focused on fathers and their infants and even fewer with hospitalized infants. Of those studies, the majority have been qualitative in design. This study is one of the first to examine factors which influence father involvement in the NICU using mixed methods. Fathers (N=80) at a 97-bed NICU in St. Petersburg, Florida were asked to complete a single survey which asked about the previous two weeks of their involvement with their hospitalized infants and factors which may have affected that involvement. Fathers who were more involved were younger and married or living with the mother. Fathers of multiples were more likely to perform kangaroo care and were more likely to be involved. Fathers who performed kangaroo care were likely to be more involved and confident. Bathing was more likely to be performed if the father had attended the delivery. Fathers who bathed their infants visited more and were more likely to be involved. Visitation declined with increasing age of the infant, number of children in the family, and length of time in Level II status. Content analysis of responses to open-ended questions showed that the majority of fathers felt that facilitators to their involvement included the healthcare team’s encouragement and teaching, and increased knowledge about their infants. Barriers included employment, lack of access to their infants, nurses’ responses, lack of knowledge, other children, and hospital logistics.

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