A Study of Paternal Involvement and Its Related Factors in Fathers of Preterm Infants

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Man-Ting Mao, BN, RN
Department Of Nursing, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
Hsiao-Han Wu, MSN, RN
Ncphrology Department, En Chu Kong Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Li-Li Chen, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Purpose: Studies have shown that paternal involvement is important in child development and facilitates reduction of the maternal stress. However, there are few studies exploring the paternal involvement and its related factors among fathers of preterm infants.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was designed. The participants were recruited from the sick baby room of a medical center in central Taiwan. A purposive sampling was adopted to recruit fathers of premature infants. The including criteria was having a premature infant with gestation age of <37 weeks with no severe congenital malformations. A total of 60 fathers gave consent for participating in the study by answering a structured questionnaire comprising the following four sections: demographic information, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), a functional social support scale, and paternal involvement intentions scale. Of these four sections, the PSS-10 and functional social support scale with Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.843 and 0.929, respectively, were adopted from translated material after consent was obtained from both the author and the translator. The demographic information and paternal involvement intentions scale were self-designed specifically for this study, and their expert validity levels evaluated by the results of the Content Validity Index (CVI) between 0.75 and–1 and the Cronbach's alpha value of 0.910. The data was collected before discharge of the preterm infants.

Results: A total of 60 fathers completed the study questionnaire, the average age of the fathers was 33.27 years (SD = 5.42). The participants’ scores for paternal involvement intentions were 83.70(SD = 7.53; range = 23–92), indicating a high degree of involvement. Univariate analysis showed that factors such as parenting attitude, spouse encouragement, perceived stress, social support, learning care method, common complications of prematurity, and feeding patterns during the child’s hospitalization have significant effects on paternal involvement intentions (p < 0.05). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that factors such as parenting attitude, stress, social support, common complications of prematurity, and feeding patterns during the child’s hospitalization have an impact on paternal involvement intentions(R2 = 0.489). Furthermore, paternal involvement is lower when the parenting attitude is lower, stress is high, social support is not strong, complications of prematurity are absent, and the infant is under orogastric tube feeding during hospitalization.

Conclusion: The study results suggest that the following nursing care measures be provided for fathers to improve the paternal involvement before their premature infants are discharged: (1) relief of the father’s stress and giving social support; (2) strengthening the father’s identification in his paternal role; (3) explaining the fathers the purpose of orogastric tube during orogastric feeding.