Improving the quality of parental interaction with very low birth weight children: A longitudinal study using a Mediated Learning Experience model

Pnina S. Klein

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    40 Scopus citations


    Cognitive performance of 3‐year‐old, very low birth weight children (N = 42) was found to be more significantly related to the quality of parent‐child interaction than to early measures of cognitive performance or measures of developmental risk such as birth weight and APGAR. The subjects were randomly divided into an intervention and a control group. The intervention group was visited at home, infrequently, by a mediator who identified basic criteria of quality of parent‐child interaction and provided the parents with feedback on the quality of interaction with their own children. The intervention procedure continued for 7 months. The extent of a family's participation in the intervention varied depending upon the initial quality of parent‐child interaction and the amount of time it took a family to reach criteria. Quality of parent‐child interaction and children's cognitive performance were pretested and reassessed 3 years after the intervention. The sample was reduced to 29 due to attrition over time. Parental behavior following the intervention had changed significantly with respect to all criteria. Parents who had received intervention, as compared to the control group parents, provided their children with more behaviors related to focusing attention, exciting and rewarding, expanding children's understanding of the world around them, preplanning and regulating behavior. Three years after the relatively unintensive intervention, parents continued to show significant gains in quality of mediation. Differences were found between parents of Small for Gestational Age (SGA) and Appropriate for Gestational Age (AGA) children in favor of the SGA group. In children's cognitive performance, scores of the intervention group on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) were significantly higher than those of the control group. On other cognitive measures, a consistent trend in favor of the intervention group was noted. More children in the control as compared to the experimental group were rated by their parents as having difficulties with language, fine motor, and sociability skills 3 years after the intervention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-337
    Number of pages17
    JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1991


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