The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how the check sheet of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program® (NIDCAP®) can be quantified and used in research. Using the quantified NIDCAP®measures, the hypothesis that Caucasian male infants are less behaviorally competent while in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was explored. Participants included 42 very preterm NICU infants. Eighty-five NIDCAP®behaviors were quantified into scores ranging from 0 to 1, indicating the percentage of time each behavior was observed. Multivariate analyses were used in grouping the 85 NIDCAP®behaviors into three subsystems of functioning. The hypothesis that Caucasian male infants were less competent was not supported; neither were gender differences found. Contrary to this hypothesis, African American infants were identified as more vulnerable on several behaviors. NIDCAP®assessments were easily quantified. Once the entire NIDCAP®exam has been quantified, practice applications may involve automated development of individualized care plans.
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