Uptake and impact of journaling program on wellbeing of NICU parents

J Perinatol. 2021 Aug;41(8):2057-2062. doi: 10.1038/s41372-021-00983-1. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


Objective: This pilot study evaluated a brief parent journaling program in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Study design: Hundred NICU parents were randomized to a control group (no journal) or an intervention group (journal provided). Parents reported pre- and post-intervention anxiety and depression symptoms using the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) and qualitative journal use data. The analysis included Student's paired two-tailed t-test and two-way ANOVA. This study was registered with clinicaltrials.gov on April 1, 2020, NCT04331925.

Result: At baseline, clinically significant anxiety was more prevalent than depression (66% vs. 23%). Post-intervention scores were best predicted by baseline scores. Relative to controls, intervention group parents experienced a decrease in anxiety from baseline (t = -1.983, p = 0.056). The same effect was not seen for depression. Most intervention group parents used the journal and provided positive feedback.

Conclusion: Journal use rates and positive feedback support the acceptability of a NICU journaling program.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal*
  • Parents
  • Pilot Projects

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04331925