Evan Lima


Having a child is both an exciting and overwhelming time for parents (Wigert et al., 2006; Cooper & Pells, 2015). While having a child is an exciting time, approximately 10% of infants are born prematurely and admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with additional infants being admitted for other reasons (e.g., sickness, low birth weight, etc.) (March of Dimes, 2015). Overall, parents of children admitted to the NICU have consistently reported experiencing lower quality of life than prior the their child being admitted to the NICU (Rosenbaum et al., 2011). Previous research has found anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder to negatively moderate parental quality of life (Shaw et al., 2006; Vanderbilt et al., 2009; Fonseca et al., 2012). Additionally, research points to three potential moderators of parental quality of life of parents whose child has been admitted to the NICU, (1) spirituality, (2) coping, and (3) social support (Kim et al., 2008; Hexen et al., 2011; Lavasani et al., 2011). The current study aims to further explore quality of life among parents whose child is admitted to the NICU by investigating potential moderators of change in parental quality of life over the NICU stay. Specifically, we aimed to (1) investigate the change, overt time, in the quality of life in parents of children in the NICU, and (2) to investigate potential moderators of the quality of life in parents of infants in the NICU. Data was collected from parents who had an infant admitted to the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital NICU. We conducted a paired sample t-test to assess change in parental quality of life over time. We conducted multiple moderation analyses to assess (2a) spirituality, (2b) social support, (2c) coping style, and (2d) overall severity of infant illness as moderators in parental quality of life over time. Results indicated that parental quality of life does not change significantly, over time, when their infant was in the NICU (p > .05). Results also indicated that none of the assessed moderators significantly moderated parental quality of life over time, when their infant was in the NICU (p > .05).

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Neece, Cameron L.

Second Advisor

Aréchiga, Adam L.

Third Advisor

Ballinger, Rebecca E.

Fourth Advisor

Tagge, Edward P.

Fifth Advisor

Vermeersch, David

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Intensive Care Units; Neonatal; Stress; Psychological; Mental Health; Parenting - Psychology; Quality of Life;

Subject - Local

Stress; Depression; Parenting; Parental Mental Health



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives