An investigation of maternal stress after neonatal hearing screening

Am J Audiol. 2000 Dec;9(2):135-41. doi: 10.1044/1059-0889(2000/016).


An investigation was undertaken to determine whether mothers whose infants failed a newborn hearing screening (MWIF) had significantly more stress and were consequently at risk for dysfunctional attachment than those mothers whose infants passed a newborn hearing screening (MWIP). The Parenting Stress Index (PSI; Abidin, 1995), a screening and diagnostic assessment questionnaire designed to measure the relative magnitude of stress in a parent-child dyad, was used. Twenty MWIP and 20 MWIF participated. The PSI was administered through a telephone interview approximately 1 month after participants' discharge while their infants were between their fourth and fifth week of life. In the case of MWIF, the interview occurred before their infant's hearing retest. No significant differences in Total Stress, Life Stress, Child Domain, and Parent Domain subscale raw scores of the PSI were found between MWIP and MWIF (p > .05). An examination of the individual PSI profiles of all participants for "high" and "low" normative percentile scores (i.e., percentile scores > or = 90th percentile and percentile scores < or = 0 percentile for the former and latter, respectively) revealed that the incidence of high scale/subscale percentile scores was essentially equivalent between groups. MWIP, however, displayed lower scale/subscale percentile scores. The results of the study suggest that those mothers whose infants receive a refer outcome after a newborn hearing screening demonstrate equivalent stress levels as those mothers whose infants received a pass.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Neonatal Screening / psychology*
  • Object Attachment
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*