Interaction of child disability and stressful life events in predicting maternal psychological health. Results of an area-based study of very preterm infants at two years corrected age

Laura Cacciani, Domenico Di Lallo, Simone Piga, Carlo Corchia, Virgilio Carnielli, Valeria Chiandotto, Mariacristina Fertz, Silvana Miniaci, Franca Rusconi, Barbara Caravale, Marina Cuttini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed at exploring the relationship between severe neuromotor and/or sensory disability in very preterm infants assessed at 2 years corrected age and their mothers' psychological health. Data on 581 Italian singletons born at 22-31 weeks of gestation in five Italian regions and their mothers were analyzed. Maternal psychological distress was measured through the General Health Questionnaire short version (GHQ-12). The prevalence of any maternal distress (GHQ scores. ≥. 2) and of clinical distress (scores. ≥. 5) were 31.3% and 8.1% respectively. At multivariable analysis, we found a statistically significant association between child's disability and mothers' GHQ scoring ≥5 (OR 3.45, 95% CI 1.07-11.15). Also lower maternal education appeared to increase the likelihood of psychological distress (OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.14-1.66). The impact of child disability was weaker in women who had experienced additional stressful life events since delivery, pointing to the existence of a "ceiling" effect. Maternal psychological assessment and support should be included in follow-up programs targeting very preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3433-3441
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume34
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Follow-up
  • Maternal distress
  • Neurosensory disability
  • Preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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