Date of Graduation

Fall 2022


Master of Science in Child Life Studies


Childhood Education and Family Studies

Committee Chair

Lindsey Murphy


This quantitative study sought to identify any relationship between attachment type and coping style in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to better understand and provide resources and support to families in this environment. This study included ten participants who had an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for at least five days. Each participant met the additional criteria of being older than the age of 18 and speaking English. Responses were recorded through a self-report survey, consisting of 115 Likert scale statements. Results indicated that most parents self-report secure attachment and that styles of coping varied within those securely attached, with escape-avoidance being most prominent. Analysis of the secondary categories of attachment indicated the following results: in insecure avoidant attachment, escape-avoidance is the most common coping style; in insecure ambivalent attachment, problem solving is the most common; and in disorganized attachment, escape-avoidance is the most common. Therefore, amongst the primary and secondary attachment types, escape-avoidance was indicated as the most commonly utilized coping style. By exploring and analyzing these parent self-reports, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit resources and support may be adapted to cater to all types of attachment and all styles of coping.


coping, parents, neonatal intensive care unit, attachment, NICU

Subject Categories

Development Studies | Other Mental and Social Health | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences


© Claire Elizabeth Payne

Open Access