Background & Goal
Each year, more than a half million infants (i.e., one out of every eight) are born prematurely in the United States. Preterm birth results in extended stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), developmental delays, physical and mental health/behavioral problems, increased medical utilization and poor academic performance. Preterm births cost the United States $26.2 billion annually. Parents of preterm infants experience a higher incidence of depression and anxiety disorders along with altered parent-infant interactions and overprotective parenting, which negatively impacts their children.
The Creating Opportunities for Parent Empowerment (COPE) program provides education and skills building activities to parents of preterm infants, in an effort to reduce hospital stays, enhance parent-infant interaction, and reduce parental depression and anxiety.
COPE is an educational-behavioral skills-building intervention with informational CDs and a workbook that teaches parents about the appearance and behavioral characteristics of premature infants. The activities show the parents how to help meet their child’s needs, enhance the quality of parent-child interaction and facilitate their infant’s development, as well as help the parents implement the educational information.