Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2017


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

L. Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Rick Zoucha

Committee Member

Rebecca Kronk

Committee Member

Shelley Peacock


Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, Parents, Disability, Stress, Family, Coping, Depression, Mixed-Methods, Heidegger


Background: There is scant literature addressing the parents of children who had hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). therefore only inferences may be made as to issues of that experience affecting parents.

Purpose: The purposes of this study was to uncover the lived experiences of parents of children who had HIE, evaluate issues of stress, depression, coping, and impact of neurologic disability in order to better care for them and thus their families

Methods: A parallel, convergent mixed-methods design was used to explore experiences and perceptions of these parents regarding their experiences and life changes. The quantitative strand addressed four research questions which addressed the above stated purpose. The qualitative and quantitative Strands were then explored, seeking areas of convergence and divergence

Results: Total impact of disability and the parentally perceived degree of disability were positively correlated (n = 50, p = .013). Parents exhibited significant stress with 31.4% of participants scoring above the 99th percentile for parent-child dysfunction. Of the women, 16.3% exhibited scores consistent with major depression. Interviews yielded six themes: unmet expectations, the source of my strength, life in the negative, outside of reality, lemonade from lemons, and the desires of parents. Areas of convergence, such as stress and depression were well enhanced by parental statements. Areas of divergence indicated that neither the quantitative surveys, nor open-ended interviews were adequate to capture issues of importance in these areas. Finally, there were numerous issues, in terms of communication, which were qualitatively revealed, but were not addressed on surveys.

Implications for Practice: Health care providers can discern issues of concern to develop methods to aid parents with the challenges of parenting a child who had HIE.

Implications for Research: Further research aimed at assessing and addressing parental needs throughout the caring process may provide clinicians with methods by which more supportive care may be provided