The relationship between maternal visiting patterns and the development of premature infants

P. S. Klein, B. M. Mogilner, C. Mogilner, S. Alkon, E. Halevi, S. Shriky, D. Lamdan

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    2 Scopus citations


    The objective of the current study was to evaluate the predictive validity of mothers' early interactions whit their premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the later development of these infants. The subjects were 35 premature infants born in the Kaplan Hospital, Israel, between 1976 and 1979, and who were discharged with no medical complications of limiting conditions. The infants were divided into two groups on the basis of the mothers' visiting patterns during the postnatal hospitalization. Group 1 comprised 21 mothers whose average visiting rate was 4.10 (SD 1.31), and group 2 consisted of 14 mothers with a mean visiting rate of 1.71 (SD 1.31). Maternal behavior was assessed with two measures, i.e., a mothers' self-report questionnaire and an evaluation of the mother's behavior based on observations of the hospital nurses and other medical staff. These obsevations yielded data on the number of visits, the quality of the mother's contact with the infant, and feeding behavior. Measures of infant development included: 1) weight gain, 2) health condition, 3) psychomotor development and 4) psychosocial development. Measures 3 and 4 were based on Gesell and Armatruda's Development Diagnosis. Mothers responded to the self-report questionnaire, and the medical staff was instructed to observe and record mothers' visiting patterns and behavior in the NICU. The infants were followed and evaluated for one or two years after discharge from the hospital. From the findings it may be concluded that maternal behavior towards the infants while they were in the hospital, was significantly related tot higher weight gains and better general health ratings as well as psychomotor and psychosocial development at age one to two years. Gender-based differential treatment of premature infants in the NICU was also observed, girls being visited more frequently by their mothers than boys were.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-127
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    Issue number3-4
    StatePublished - 1982


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