The aim of the systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the stress and stressors experienced by the parents of high-risk neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in India. We included both quantitative and qualitative studies. The Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist and Critical Appraisal Skill Programme checklist were used to assess the quality of included studies. A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, EBSCOhost, Web of Science, ProQuest, Microsoft Academic, DOAJ, Indian Citation Index, and J-Gate to identify relevant studies. Additionally, online hand searching was performed on Indian websites of relevant institutions, women and child health departments, repositories, registries, and paediatric journals. Twelve of the 21 quantitative studies found that maternal stress was higher than fathers due to the separation from their babies and the medical condition of the neonate. One qualitative study reported that financial burden, alterations in the parenting role, and concern over domestic issues are significant causes of fathers' stress. A meta-analysis of the included studies assessed the prevalence of maternal, paternal, and parental stress and reported that mothers experienced higher stress levels than fathers across all subscales. The most typical stressors for parents were changes in neonatal looks, behaviour, and altered parental roles. Beyond the immediate NICU care and interactions, other triggering factors of stress among parents must be considered to design multicomponent interventions in a local (Indian) context. Moreover, parental psychological support and regular counselling can be incorporated into the standard neonatal intensive care policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health