Synchronous interaction in the NICU : an exlploratory intervention with adolescent mothers with premature infants
Synchronous interaction between adolescent mothers with preterm infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was examined in this study. Understanding the characteristics of synchrony in adolescent mother and premature infant interactions during this early period in the development of the relationship provides direction for the development of nursing strategies to foster synchronous interaction in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting and, subsequently, positive developmental outcomes for preterm infants. The research design was a one-group, pretest-posttest, exploratory intervention assessing synchronous interaction using the Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale (NCAFS) among 27 adolescent mothers and their premature infants in the NICU. The study examined the differences in adolescent mother-premature infant interaction in the NICU environment prior to an intervention and within 48 hours after receiving the Preterm Infant Cues Intervention (PICI). Additional variables including stress, social support, age of the adolescent mother and preterm infant, ethnicity, length of stay in the NICU, and preterm infant weight were considered. Results showed a statistically significant difference between Time 1 and Time 2 synchronous interaction measurements indicating that the PICI may have resulted in the adolescent mother better understanding the preterm infant’s behavior. The Caregiver Total Scale score (t = -3.93, p < .001) and the Total Scale score (t = -3.96, p < .001) were the two main scales that the PICI could have affected. There were no correlations among the other independent variables and the dependant variable. Future research should focus on a large scale longitudinal study to measure synchronous interaction over multiple time points beginning in the NICU carrying through the first year of child development. Adding a qualitative component to future studies would provide further insight into experience of adolescent mothers with preterm infants.