Maternal Stress and Anxiety: Study Rigor

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 2
Words: 449
Reading time:
2 min

This quantitative study implies researchers’ constant interaction with data. It was important for them to make sense of the information they received without losing objectivity and focus on the facts. First and foremost, it was crucial to avoid confusing rigor related to generalizability. Opting for a more homogenous sample helped researchers to decrease generalizability to the greater population. Another part of the study that helped to make it more rigorous (trustworthy) is choosing the appropriate research tools, such as the Parental Stressor Scale: Infant Hospitalization and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

These instruments helped “to measure parents’ perception of stressors related to the hospitalization of an infant being cared for in any type of hospital unit.” Given the challenges in terms of measurement precision and quantification, the study incorporated methodologically neutral computational software. In addition, the researchers aimed to facilitate a high level of inclusivity in regard to the study’s sample population, which is why participants from different areas (3 in the US) and socioeconomic backgrounds were chosen. However, the study failed to control some threats to internal and external validity. Firstly, maternal perception of stressors was only measured once after an infant had surgery. However, mothers’ perceptions of stress may change through the course of hospitalization.

On the one hand, choosing to focus on only one type of stress response (trait anxiety) helped researchers control for extraneous variables. The scientists managed to come to a conclusion that “trait anxiety and parental role alteration were the best predictors of state anxiety for mothers in the PCICU.” On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that mothers can have various stress responses. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the relationships between stressors and multiple stress responses. Lastly, the study relied exclusively on self-reported measures, which researchers could not control for extraneous variables. Mothers’ perception of stressors and their responses to them may have been influenced by unidentified factors, which could affect the study’s validity.

Self-reported measures did not allow Lisanti et al. to collect objective variables. The study’s design and methodology would benefit from slight changes. The level of evidence of this particular study is IV. This is a correlational study that has collected data from three different hospitals in the United States. It included 62 biological women with infants hospitalized to undergo surgery related to complex congenital heart disease. Information was gathered using two main research instruments, including the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Parental Stressor Scale: Infant Hospitalization. It was then assessed using computational methods and interpreted by the researchers to make conclusive statements regarding the relationship between trait anxiety, stressors, and maternal stress responses.