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Very pre-term infants' behaviour at 1 and 2 years of age and parental stress following basic developmental care

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Author: Pal, S.M. van der · Maguire, C.M. · Bruil, J. · Cessie, S. le · Zwieten, P. van · Veen, S. · Wit, J.M. · Walther, F.J.
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 1, 26, 103-115
Identifier: 240672
doi: doi:10.1348/026151007X205290
Keywords: Health · Jeugd en Gezondheid


This study explored the effects of basic developmental care on the behaviour of very pre-term infants and parental stress at I and 2 years of corrected age. A randomized controlled trial was done to compare basic Developmental Care (standardized nests and incubator covers) and controls (standard care). Parents of infants born < 32 weeks of gestation completed questionnaires measuring child behaviour and parental stress at 1 year (N = 139) and 2 years (N = 133) of the child's age. Parental stress was measured using the Nijmegen Parenting Stress Index and child behaviour was measured using the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and the Child Behaviour Checklist 2-3. At 1 year of age, children in the basic developmental care group had significantly higher behaviour scores on the total competence domain (p = .009) and the competence subscale mastery motivation (p = .002) of the ITSEA questionnaire, meaning that the infants showed more curiosity, persistence, obedience and enjoyment with small accomplishments. No significant effects were found on problem behaviour or parenting stress. We conclude that introducing a basic form of developmental care in the neonatal intensive care unit has a positive influence on the child's competence behaviour at I year of age. © 2008 The British Psychological Society.