Parents of preterm infants often experience high levels of stress resulting in feelings of trauma after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, post-traumatic growth can occur after a stressful incident resulting in more favorable individual outcomes. One predictor of post-traumatic growth that has not been studied in relation to the NICU is parents’ religiousness and spirituality. This study focused on filling this gap in the literature by conducting a pilot study comprised of 25 parents’ reports on their experiences of post-traumatic growth post-NICU discharge. Specifically, we explored associations between parents’ reports on religiousness and spirituality through measures of parent–child sanctification, religious coping, and spiritual disclosure in relation to parents’ distress and their post-traumatic growth. We found that parents who sanctified their parent–child relationship experienced higher levels of post-traumatic growth even in the presence of stress. Parents who reported increased use of positive forms of religious coping and open spiritual disclosure with their spouse/partner also reported higher levels of post-traumatic growth. Results support a continued focus on family-centered NICU care during and after discharge with the caveat of also considering parents’ spiritual and religious worldviews.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies