The attachment of prematurely born children at school age: A pilot study

Francesca Nuccini, Marcella Paterlini, Giancarlo Gargano, Andrea Landini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This prospective longitudinal study compared the psychological development and patterns of attachment of 20 prematurely born children and 20 full-term children at 7 years of age. The School-age Assessment of Attachment (SAA) was used, and hypotheses and interpretation of the findings were drawn from the Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM). Significant differences between prematurely born and full-term children were found: 10% versus 0% at "high" risk, 55% versus 25% at "moderate" risk, and 35% versus 75% at "low" risk. There were no differences in the percentage of psychological trauma between samples, but there was a difference in the types of experiences leading to trauma. For prematurely born children, it was most often illness, whereas for full-term children, it was family problems. We discuss the implications for clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 11 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment
  • perinatal problem
  • prematurely born children
  • psychological risk
  • school age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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