The soundscape of neonatal intensive care: a mixed-methods study of the parents’ experience

Chifa, Maria, Hadar, Tamar ORCID logoORCID:, Politimou, Nina, Reynolds, Gemma ORCID logoORCID: and Franco, Fabia ORCID logoORCID: (2021) The soundscape of neonatal intensive care: a mixed-methods study of the parents’ experience. Children, 8 (8) , 644. pp. 1-24. ISSN 2227-9067 [Article] (doi:10.3390/children8080644)

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Parents who have infants hospitalised in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) experience high levels of stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, whether sounds contribute to parents’ stress remains largely unknown. Critically, researchers lack a com-prehensive instrument to investigate the relationship between sounds in NICUs and parental stress. To address this gap, this report presents the “Soundscape of NICU Questionnaire” (SON-Q), which was developed specifically to capture parents’ perceptions and beliefs about the impact that sound had on them and their infants, from pre-birth throughout the NICU stay and in the first postdischarge period. Parents of children born preterm (n = 386) completed the SON-Q and the Perinatal PTSD Questionnaire (PPQ). Principal Component Analysis identifying underly-ing dimensions comprising the parental experience of the NICU soundscape was followed by an exploration of the relationships between subscales of the SON-Q and the PPQ. Moderation analy-sis was carried out to further elucidate relationships between variables. Finally, thematic analy-sis was employed to analyse one memory of sounds in NICU open question. The results highlight systematic associations between aspects of the NICU soundscape and parental stress/trauma. The findings underscore the importance of developing specific studies in this area and devising inter-ventions to best support parents’ mental health, which could in turn support infants’ develop-mental outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 33952
Notes on copyright: Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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Depositing User: Fabia Franco
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 10:41
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 16:40

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