Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We examined whether an art-based occupation group using scrapbooking in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) would reduce parent stress, operationalized as anxiety. We also wanted to understand the parents’ lived experience of the group.

METHOD. Forty parents from a Level 3 NICU in a large metropolitan hospital participated. We administered the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory preactivity and postactivity along with a brief interview.

RESULTS. The decline in parents’ mean state anxiety (12.7 points, SD = 11.8; p < .0001) was clinically significant. The decline in mean trait anxiety (2.6 points, SD = 5.2; p = .0036) was statistically significant but not clinically meaningful. Parents said that participation offered distraction and engagement, pleasure, relaxation, a sense of hope, and an opportunity to share.

CONCLUSION. An art-based occupation group using scrapbooking was an effective brief intervention to reduce parent anxiety in the neonatal intensive care unit; parent interviews suggested that participation has broad clinical implications for parent well-being.

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