Helping mothers cope with a critically ill child: a pilot test of the COPE intervention

Res Nurs Health. 1997 Feb;20(1):3-14. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-240x(199702)20:1<3::aid-nur2>;2-q.


The purpose of this study was to pilot test the effects of a theoretically driven intervention program (COPE = Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment) on the coping outcomes of critically ill children and their mothers. Thirty mothers of 1- to 6-year-old children in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) were randomly assigned to receive COPE or a comparison program. Mothers who received the COPE program: (a) provided more support to their children during intrusive procedures; (b) provided more emotional support to their children; (c) reported less negative mood state and less parental stress related to their children's emotions and behaviors; and (d) reported fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms and less parental role change four weeks following hospitalization. Results indicate the need to educate parents regarding their children's responses as they recover from critical illness and how they can assist their children in coping with the stressful experience.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Random Allocation
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*