Psychology, Professional



Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Consuelo Cavalieri

Second Advisor

Tatyana Avdeyeva


As a result of an increase in premature births and medical interventions for premature infants, more infants are surviving, and therefore, more families are put in the position of facing the difficulty of caring for a premature infant (Poehlmann, Schwichtenbert, Bolt, & Dilworth-Bart, 2009). Attachment processes have the potential to be delayed or disrupted as a result of the initial separation of the premature infant and the mother upon admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (Fegran, Helseth, Fagermoen, 2008). Parents of premature infants are more likely to experience high levels of distress that may include anxiety, depression, and trauma symptoms (Obeidat, Bond, & Callister, 2009). Education and counseling interventions focused on education oriented toward understanding infant cues and behaviors in addition to skill development have been found effective for increasing mother-infant interaction (Gardner & Deatrick, 2005). Parent support groups are focused on helping parents deal with psychological distress, encourage healthy adjustment, and increase their confidence level in parenting (Preyde, 2007). A treatment manual curriculum was developed from research literature that addresses the mental health needs of parents who have a premature infant in the NICU.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.