Development of Relationship Competencies Through Guided Participation for Mothers of Preterm Infants

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To explore the effects of a guided participation (GP) intervention on mothers' development of competencies in relating to their preterm infants in neonatal intensive-care units.


Mothers were enrolled in a randomized, longitudinal clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of GP with standard care teaching. Baseline data were collected when the infants were 29 weeks postconceptional age. The intervention (GP or standard care teaching) was administered, and relationship competencies were assessed through observation once per week for the next 6 weeks.


Two neonatal intensive-care units in the Midwest.


A convenience sample of 16 mothers of low-birthweight infants, 8 in each group.


GP of mothers in relating to their infants in the context of caregiving activities was compared with standard care teaching.


Mothers in the GP group had expectations and intentions that were more attuned and adaptive to their infants' needs. In addition, the GP group was consistently higher in relationship competencies than the standard care teaching group.


GP can effectively support mothers in developing relationships with their preterm infants in the context of neonatal intensive-care unit caregiving activities. JOGNN, 35, 358-368; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00049.x

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