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December, 1993
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The intention of this study was to examine the short-term psychological effects on parents, if any, of ultrasound scanning-that is, of fetal visualization. The starting hypothesis was that after visualizing the fetus, parents experience a lower level of stress and anxiety. To test that hypothesis, a quasiexperimental/control type of study was conducted. The subjects, all parents (N = 296), were divided into two groups: an experimental high-feedback group that watched the ultrasound screen, and a low-feedback control group that could not see a screen. Each group had two subgroups-risk pregnancy and no-risk pregnancy. To test the level of anxiety and stress, a number of scales were administered. The results confirm the positive effect of screening. Stress and anxiety levels were reduced. Statistically significant differences between the groups are found. Additional analysis in this area should be pursued.


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Melita Kovacevic, Ph.D.

Melita Kovacevic was educated at the University of Zagreb and Eastern Washington University. She has worked at the Institute of Ultrasound Diagnostics at the Medical School of the University of Zagreb, lectured on developmental psychology part-time at that university's Department of Educational Sciences, and has worked as a child psychologist at the Child Center in Zagreb. She is now with the University of Zagreb's Department of Logopedics.

Melita Kovacevic has published about 30 papers (scholarly papers, reviews, translations), edited one book (on child development) and is a co-editor of two books. This paper was prepared for and presented at the Fifth International Congress of The Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association of North America held on July 18-21,1991 in Atlanta, Georgia. Address correspondence to Faculty of Defectology, University of Zagreb, Kuslanova 59a, ZAGREB 41000, Croatia.