Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


Infant, Premature; Intensive Care Units, Neonatal; Parents -- education; Stress, Psychological -- prevention & control


Each year, thousands of infants are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Research has shown evidence that parents, of babies who are admitted to the NICU, experience increased stress levels and are at an increased risk for mental health issues after discharge from the hospital. The objective of this scholarly project was to develop an occupation-based group protocol that focuses on enabling an occupational adaptive response for parents in the NICU, through the use of evidenced-based stress reduction techniques. An extensive literature review was conducted to identify research to be used to support the development of this product.

The product, Stress Reduction for Parents in the NICU: A Five Session Group Protocol, was created based off the evidence found in the literature review, Cole’s Seven Steps, and the Occupational Adaptation model. This group protocol was designed for occupational therapy professionals to use with parents who have infants admitted to the NICU. Each session incorporates individual objectives specific to the nature of the session. All sessions share the common goal of reducing stress as a barrier to fulfillment of their occupational role as a parent. The product includes a detailed outline for each session for therapists to follow during facilitation and corresponding handouts for parents. Finally, the authors included an assessment in the form of a Likert-Scale survey to determine the efficacy of the product.