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A Stress Coping App for Hospitalized Pregnant Women at Risk for Preterm Birth

Jallo, Nancy PhD, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC; Thacker, Leroy R. II PhD; Menzies, Victoria PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC; Stojanovic, Predrag; Svikis, Dace S. PhD

MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing: September/October 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 257–262
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000355
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Background: Pregnant women hospitalized with preterm labor (PTL) complications experience increased stress. Prior researchers have attempted to provide stress management strategies with use of various media players to deliver stress coping interventions.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a mobile device delivered stress coping app designed to reduce stress in a sample of high-risk pregnant women hospitalized with complications of PTL.

Methods: A descriptive study using a prospective mixed methods one-group pre/posttest design. Fifteen pregnant women used the mobile device app for 8 consecutive days. The app included study measures, educational overview of concepts, four guided imagery audio files to be listened to daily, and a stress self-assessment scale to be used before and after each use. Measures included: Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Visual Analog Stress Scale (VASS), Coping Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES), and semistructured interviews.

Results: There was a significant drop in VASS scores when comparing scores before and after listening to the app (p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences between the baseline and Day 8 scores of PSS or CSES. All participants reported benefits from using the app and provided suggestions for improvement.

Clinical Implications: The intervention reduced immediate stress and provided a respite from the stress response in this population. Maternal child nurses may consider incorporating stress coping interventions as standard care practice.

An app for pregnant women hospitalized with complications of preterm labor was prospectively evaluated. The app included study measures, an educational overview of concepts, four guided imagery audio files to be listened to daily, and a stress self-assessment scale to be used before and after each use. All participants reported benefits from using the app and provided suggestions for improvement.

Nancy Jallo is an Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA. The author can be reached via e-mail at njallo@vcu.edu

Leroy R. Thacker II is an Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA.

Victoria Menzies is an Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA.

Predrag Stojanovic is an IT Specialist, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA.

Dace S. Svikis is a Professor, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Obstetrics/Gynecology, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Deputy Director, VCU Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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