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J Caring Sci. 2013;2(1):83-88.
doi: 10.5681/jcs.2013.010
PMID: 25276713
PMCID: PMC4161107
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Anticipatory Grief Reactions in Fathers of Preterm Infants Hospitalized in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Abstract

Introduction: Entering the state of fatherhood combined with the birth of a preterm neonate puts fathers' mental health at risk. Paying attention to fathers as a major supporter for mothers is essential. Therefore, the present study was conducted to evaluate anticipatory grief reactions among fathers with premature infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care unit. Methods: The current descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted on 120 fathers with premature infants hospitalized in neonatal intensive care unit in hospitals of Tabriz (Iran) during 2011. Fathers were selected using convenience sampling method. Data was collected using a valid and reliable anticipatory grief scale which rated items as 0-3. Results: All fathers reported anticipatory grief reactions. The mean score of items was 1.47. The most common reactions were unremitting mental engagement with the infant and feeling of sadness. Irritability and feeling of anger were reported to be less severe. The least important reactions were related physical reactions such as disorders of sleep and appetite and feeling of guilt. Conclusion: Fathers experience anticipatory grief after the birth of premature infants and their hospitalization in neonatal intensive care unit. Therefore, it is essential for the health care providers to pay more attention to cognitive and emotional reactions of fathers.
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Submitted: 26 Feb 2013
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