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Parent Picture-Book Reading to Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as an Intervention Supporting Parent-Infant Interaction and Later Book Reading

Lariviere, Janice RN*; Rennick, Janet E. PhD†‡

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February-March 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 146-152
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e318203e3a1
Original Article

Objectives: To examine the effects of a parent book reading intervention in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on parent-infant interaction and on the incidence of parents reading to their infants 3 months post-NICU discharge.

Methods: A nonrandomized, participant blinded intervention study using a historical control group (CG) was conducted. The intervention group (IG: n = 59) consisted of parents of infants admitted to the NICU after the introduction of the parent reading program. The CG (n = 57) consisted of parents of infants discharged from the NICU in the 3-month period before the introduction of the reading program. Questionnaires were mailed to participants 3 months after their infant's discharge and completed verbally, over the telephone. Groups were compared on parenting activities and reading. In addition, a thematic analysis of qualitative descriptive data provided insight into the parents' experiences with reading to their infants.

Results: Sixty-nine percent of IG parents reported that reading helped them feel closer to their baby, and 86% reported it was enjoyable. Parents reported an increased sense of control and normalcy and increased intimacy with their infant. Twice as many parents in the IG reported reading 3 or more times a week to their infants (55.9% IG; 23.3% CG).

Conclusion: Study results support the use of a parent book-reading intervention in the NICU to enhance parent-infant interactions and promote reading.

From the *Neonatal Clinic, The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; †Department of Nursing Research, The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; ‡School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Received July 2010; accepted September 2010.

This study was supported by grants from the Eureka! Fellowship in Nursing Research at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), funded by Richard & Satoko Ingram of the Newton Foundation, and the Foundations of the Royal Victoria, Montreal General & Montreal Children's Hospitals. The study was also supported by the Canadian Nurses' Foundation Nursing Care Partnership Program. Dr. Rennick is supported, in part, by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Quebec (FRSQ) and SickKids Foundation/IHDCYH-CIHR National Grants Program. Dr. Rennick is a member of the Research Institute of the MUHC, which is supported in part by the FRSQ.

Address for reprints: Janice Lariviere, RN, Montreal Children's Hospital, F-128, 2300 Tupper Street Montreal, QC, Canada H3H 1P3; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.