Infant-Mother Attachment and Nutrition in Children with Cystic Fibrosis

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ABSTRACT.The association between nutritional status (percentage of weight for height) and infant-mother relationship was studied over 4 years in 38 children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in the first year of life. Infant-mother relationship was assessed in a standardized laboratory observation. Although they could not be distinguished medically from the others at the time of diagnosis, infants showing a specific form of insecure relationship with their mothers (insecure-avoidant) differed from the others in: (1) failure to improve in nutritional status in the first year; (2) continuing decline in weight for height in the first 3 years; and (3) significantly lower weight for height at 1, 2, and 3 years of age. These data suggest that attention to mother-infant relationships, particularly feeding interactions, may improve nutritional status in children with cystic fibrosis. J Dev Behav Pediatr 16:183–186, 1995. Index terms: infancy, cystic fibrosis, nutrition, attachment.

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