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Parents' Self-Efficacy and Perceptions of Family-Centered Practices in Early Intervention Programs following NICU Discharge

Kerry Miller, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Each year, over 300,000 newborns are admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) across the country. Admission to a NICU alone puts children at increased risk for developmental delays and disabilities. Additional concern lies in the outcomes for the families of NICU graduates. Stress and anxiety levels are often elevated in parents of this population, and the quality of their interactions with their children is often compromised. In addition, parents of NICU graduates sometimes report diminished levels of parental self-efficacy. This population of children and their families can benefit from family- centered early intervention services funded by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) during their early years. Given the often-limited time and financial resources of these community programs, it is essential that services are maximized to positively influence both child and family outcomes, and particularly, parent self-efficacy. Utilizing a one-group observational design, this exploratory study examined the relationship between sociodemographic, medical, and child factors and parent-reported self-efficacy related to their early intervention program after NICU discharge. The study also examined the relationship between early intervention program factors and parents’ perceptions of a family-centered approach to early intervention. Participants included 148 NICU graduates, ages 8 to 41 months, who were enrolled in a Part C early intervention program. Results suggest that of the sociodemographic, medical, and child factors examined, there was a relationship between the child’s birth weight and parents’ reported self-efficacy related to their early intervention program following their children’s NICU discharge. As birth weight decreased, reported self-efficacy increased. Differences in medical factors were found between parents who reported high and low parent self-efficacy. Analyses of early intervention program factors in relation to family- centered practices revealed a low yet significant negative correlation between perceived family-centeredness and reports of child-focused early intervention services. When parents reported being less involved in a more child-focused model, the perception of overall family-centered practices decreased. Implications for early intervention programs and professionals, NICU medical staff, and pre-service training programs are discussed. Study limitations and future research directions are presented.

Subject Area

Special education

Recommended Citation

Miller, Kerry, "Parents' Self-Efficacy and Perceptions of Family-Centered Practices in Early Intervention Programs following NICU Discharge" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10792718.