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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2014 June;66(3):177-86


language: English

Coping and parental role competence of mothers of preterm infant

Perricone G. 1, Morales M. R. 1, De Luca F. 2, Carollo A. 1, Maniscalco F. 1, Caldas Luzeiro J. 1, Polizzi C. 1

1 Research Unit of ”Pediatric Psychology“, Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 2 Operating Unit of Pediatric Cardiology, ”Ferrarotto Hospital“, University Hospital ”V. Emanuele“, Catania, Italy


AIM: The study was aimed at obtaining knowledge about mothers’ experiences of preterm birth. The objective of the study is to explore coping strategies and self- perceived parental competence, in mothers of infant born moderately and severely preterm and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
METHODS: The study involved a group of 16 mothers of moderately preterm children (weeks’ gestational age: mean=34, SD=2 and birth weight: mean=2000 g, SD=200 g) and a group of 14 mothers of severely preterm children (weeks’ gestational age: mean=29, SD=2 and birth weight: mean=1700 g, SD=350 g). The following instruments were used with mothers to investigate focus areas of research: Coping Orientation to the Problems Experienced-New Italian Version (COPE-NVI), to analyse coping strategies of mothers, and a Q-sort, a self report on maternal competence.
RESULTS: Data did not show statistically significant differences between the two groups of mothers, both in regard to considered coping strategies (social support, avoidance, problem focused orientation, transcendent orientation, positive aptitude), and the indicators of maternal self-perceived competence (coping, scaffolding, caregiving) (Mann-Whitney U test(n1=16 and n2=14)>0.05).
CONCLUSION: This study, highlighting the lack of differences between the two groups of mothers involved, seems to point out that, beyond the levels of prematurity, the condition of preterm birth itself is precisely the main stressor factor for mothers.

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