Effectiveness of applying empowerment strategies when establishing a support group for parents of preterm infants

Chung Hua Liu, Yi Hung Chao, Chiu Mieh Huang, Fang Chun Wei, Li Yin Chien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aims: The objectives of this study were to apply empowerment strategies to the establishing of a support group for parents of preterm infants who were recently discharged home and to examine its effectiveness in terms of self-efficacy, perceived stress and depression among the parents. Background: While the concept of empowerment has been applied when establishing various patient support groups, it has not been explicitly used for parents of preterm infants. Design: This study applied a quasi-experimental design. Method: The inclusion criteria were parents of infants with a birth gestational age of <37 weeks who were expected to be discharged home within one week. A total of 70 parents of preterm infants participated in this study, made up of 35 participants each in the intervention and in the control groups. The intervention group received three months of support applying empowerment strategies, while the control group received usual care only. Results: The results, relative to the control group at post-test, demonstrated that the intervention group showed significantly higher scores for self-efficacy when using resources as well as significantly decreased scores for depression. For parents of preterm infants with a very low birth weight, the intervention group showed a significant decrease in perceived stress relative to controls, but this was not seen in parents of preterm infants without very low birth weight. There was no significant difference in the scores for self-efficacy when performing parental roles. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of support groups for parents of preterm infants that apply empowerment strategies, which decreased parental depressive symptomatology and increased parental self-efficacy when utilising resources. The intervention also effectively decreased the perceived stress level in parents of infants with very low birth weight. Relevance to clinical practice: Health professionals should apply empowerment strategies when establishing parental support groups for preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1729-1737
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Evaluation research
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Parents
  • Preterm
  • Support group


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