Predictors of Parental Presence in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Lauren Head Zauche, Michael S. Zauche, Anne L. Dunlop, Bryan L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Parental presence in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may affect preterm infants' developmental outcomes. However, few studies have described predictors of parental presence in the NICU. Purpose: To identify sociodemographic, clinical, environmental, and maternal psychological factors that predict parent presence in the NICU. Methods: Using a prospective cohort design, 66 preterm infants between 32 and 40 weeks' corrected gestational age were recruited at 2 level III NICUs in the United States. Data for length of parental presence were collected for 48 consecutive hours from daily visitation logs and medical records. A general linear model was estimated to identify significant predictors of parental presence. Results: Parental presence varied considerably, with a mean percentage of visitation time of 32.40%. The number of children at home (P =.003), presence of neurological comorbidity (P <.001), room type (P <.001), surgical history (P <.001), and perceived stressfulness of the NICU (P =.03) each had large main effects on parental presence, and room type and surgical history (P =.004) had a large interaction effect on parental presence. These predictors accounted for 65.8% of the variance in parental presence. Implications for Research: Future research aimed at understanding predictors of parent presence is essential for developing interventions and designing NICUs that support parental presence. Implications for Practice: Understanding factors that contribute to parental presence may help healthcare providers identify infants at risk for low parental presence and thus be able to provide greater support to these infants and their families. As a result, this may help improve outcomes and attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Neonatal Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • NICU
  • parent visit
  • parental presence
  • preterm infant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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