The purpose of this study was to identify and compare parental perceptions of their stress and coping experiences with children in pediatric intensive care units (PICU) and the neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The sample consisted of 31 NICU and 20 PICU parents. Parents in both units experienced the most stress from alteration in their parenting role and in their infants' behavior and appearance. Parents of children in PICU found assistance with parenting role more helpful than parents of children in NICU. Parents with children in the PICU perceived problems-focused coping more helpful than parents with children in the NICU; parents of children in NICU found emotion-focused coping more helpful than parents of children in PICU. Parents in both units considered problem-focused coping more helpful than appraisal- or emotion-focused coping.
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