Maternal social networks and mother-infant interactions in full-term and very low birthweight, preterm infants.

C. L. Zarling*, B. J. Hirsch, S. Landry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relation between maternal social networks and mother-infant interactions at 6 months of age was examined in 34 mother-preterm and 20 mother-full-term dyads. All preterm infants were of very low birthweight and experienced medical complications. Mothers were interviewed regarding their social networks; ratings of maternal behaviors were derived from videotaped mother-infant interactions. There were few between-group differences in mean levels of network variables; however, the association between network structure and maternal sensitivity differed in the 2 groups. A larger number of ties between the mother's family of origin and the mother's friends related to higher maternal sensitivity in full-terms but to lower maternal sensitivity in preterms. The birth of a full-term infant is typically a positive event around which a tightly knit network can coalesce to support the mother. It is less clear that the birth of a preterm infant is a positive event, leaving network members unsure of their roles and how to respond. Under the latter circumstances, fewer ties among network members may decrease the likelihood of ambiguous or stressful communications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalChild Development
Volume59
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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