Parental perception of child vulnerability among mothers of very low birth weight infants: psychological predictors and neurodevelopmental sequelae at 2 years

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to examine the impact of maternal psychological distress on the development of parental perception of child vulnerability (PPCV) in mothers of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants; and to examine the impact of PPCV on neurodevelopmental outcome in VLBW infants in the second year of life.

STUDY DESIGN:

This is a prospective study of 69 mothers and their VLBW infants recruited from 2011 to 2012 for whom maternal psychological data were collected during the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. Maternal PPCV was assessed at 4 months corrected age (CA). Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed at 20 months CA. Regression analyses modeled the development of PPCV and the impact of PPCV on neurodevelopmental outcome.

RESULTS:

PPCV at 4 months CA was predicted by maternal anxiety and history of previous fetal loss reported during the NICU stay. Higher PPCV at 4 months CA was associated with lower language scores at 20 months CA.

CONCLUSION:

Targeted interventions aimed at reducing PPCV in the NICU are supported.

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