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Journal Article


Potharst ES, Schuengel C, Last BF, van Wassenaer AG, Kok JH, Houtzager BA. Acta Paediatr. 2012; 101(6): 597-603.


.Psychosocial Department of the Emma's Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands .Department of Neonatology of the Emma's Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands .Department of Developmental Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands .EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands .Department of Clinical Child and Family Studies, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


(Copyright © 2012, John Wiley and Sons)






Aim:  To investigate differences in the quality of mother-child interaction between preterm- and term-born children at age 5, and to study the association of mother-child interaction with sociodemographic characteristics and child disability. Methods:  Preterm children (n = 94), born at <30 weeks' gestation and/or birth weight <1000 g, and term children (n = 84) were assessed at corrected age of 5 using a mother-child interaction observation. Disabilities were assessed using an intelligence test, behaviour questionnaires for parents and teachers, and motor and neurological examinations. Results:  Mothers of preterm-born children were less supportive of and more interfering with their children's autonomy than mothers of term-born children. This difference was only partly explained by sociodemographic factors. Dyads showed a lower quality of mother-child interaction if children had a severe disability, especially when mothers had a lower level of education. Conclusion:  Five years after birth, mother-child interaction of very premature children and their mothers compared unfavourably with term children and their mothers. Mothers with sociodemographic disadvantages, raising a preterm child with severe disabilities, struggle most with giving adequate sensitive support for the autonomy development of their child. Focused specialized support for these at risk groups is warranted.

Language: en


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