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Keywords:

  • medically fragile infants;
  • parenting;
  • mother–infant interactions;
  • maternal role attainment

Abstract

We examined which components of maternal role attainment (identity, presence, competence) influenced quality of parenting for 72 medically fragile infants, controlling for maternal education and infant illness severity. Maternal competence was related to responsiveness. Maternal presence and technology dependence were inversely related to participation. Greater competence and maternal education were associated with better normal caregiving. Presence was negatively related although competence was positively related to illness-related caregiving. Mothers with lower competence and more technology dependent children perceived their children as more vulnerable and child cues as more difficult to read. Maternal role attainment influenced parenting quality for these infants more than did child illness severity; thus interventions are needed to help mothers develop their maternal role during hospitalization and after discharge. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 34:35–48, 2011