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The pediatric intensive care website project: Implications for parental coping

25 July 2003


The purpose of the current follow-up study was to evaluate the Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU) Website Project, a unique technological intervention that was provided to parents. while their child was hospitalized in the PICU. The website was intended to facilitate parental coping by providing parents at the hospital with ways to communicate with their family and friends through a website. The overall goal of this study was to examine if parents received social support through the website and what types of social support were received. Relationships between social support and factors such as connection, satisfaction, socioeconomic status, and optimism were also studied. 47 of the parents who participated in the original project responded to the follow-up survey by phone. Because the website project was piloted over a period of 3 years, anywhere from 6 months to 3 years separated the time the child was in the PICU and when the parents completed the follow-up survey. Results indicated that parents were most likely to receive emotional support and spiritual support from messages sent to them through the website. More than half agreed that they received instrumental support while less than a . third of them obtained informational support. There were strong relationships between the types of social support and feeling connected to the larger social network because of the ability to post and receive messages from others. This suggests that the website may encourage successful coping among parents with seriously ill children. Implications for future research are discussed.


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