Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jessica Roberts Williams

Second Committee Member

Brian McCabe

Third Committee Member

Joseph P. DeSantis

Fourth Committee Member

Laura Kohn Wood


Having a child in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) places parents at risk for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) symptoms. ASD symptoms, or primary negative responses to a traumatic event, may increase parents’ risk for developing long-term Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) one or more months later. The purpose of this study is to examine the stress appraisal, coping behaviors, and level of distress due to ASD in an ethnically diverse sample of mothers with a child in the PICU, while controlling for socioeconomic factors. A quantitative cross-sectional design, which surveyed mothers with a child age one day to 17 years in the intensive care unit, was used for this study. The instruments included in the survey were a Parent Demographic Sheet, the Pediatric Stressor Scale: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Brief COPE, and the Acute Stress Disorder Scale. Results of this study add to the literature on parental stress and coping behaviors of minority mothers with a child in the PICU and can be used to guide culturally tailored nursing interventions to improve coping and decrease ASD symptoms in this population of mothers.


Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; Stress; Coping; Acute Stress Disorder (ASD); Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Parental Stress