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Effects of an early intervention on maternal post-traumatic stress symptoms and the quality of mother-infant interaction: The case of preterm birth
Infant Behavior and Development
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Publication Status: ppublish
Preterm birth may represent a traumatic situation for both parents and a stressful situation for the infant, potentially leading to difficulties in mother-infant relationships. This study aimed to investigate the impact of an early intervention on maternal posttraumatic stress symptoms, and on the quality of mother-infant interactions, in a sample of very preterm infants and their mothers. Half of the very preterm infants involved in the study (n=26) were randomly assigned to a 3-step early intervention program (at 33 and 42 weeks after conception and at 4 months' corrected age). Both groups of preterm infants (with and without intervention) were compared to a group of full-term infants. The impact of the intervention on maternal posttraumatic stress symptoms was assessed 42 weeks after conception and when the infants were 4 and 12 months of age. The impact of the intervention on the quality of mother-infant interactions was assessed when the infants were 4 months old. Results showed a lowering of mothers' posttraumatic stress symptoms between 42 weeks and 12 months in the group of preterm infants who received the intervention. Moreover, an enhancement in maternal sensitivity and infant cooperation during interactions was found at 4 months in the group with intervention. In the case of a preterm birth, an early intervention aimed at enhancing the quality of the mother-infant relationship can help to alleviate maternal post-traumatic stress symptoms and may have a positive impact on the quality of mother-infant interactions.
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