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Parental psychological well-being and cognitive development of very low birth weight infants at 2 years

Authors

  • Mira Huhtala,

    1. .Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
    2. .Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
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  • Riikka Korja,

    1. .Department of Child Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
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  • Liisa Lehtonen,

    1. .Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
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  • Leena Haataja,

    1. .Department of Pediatric Neurology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
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  • Helena Lapinleimu,

    1. .Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
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  • Petriina Munck,

    1. .Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
    2. .Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
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  • Päivi Rautava,

    1. .Turku Clinical Research Centre, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
    2. .Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
    3. .Child and Adolescent Clinic, Turku City Hospital, Turku, Finland
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  • the PIPARI Study Group

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    • The PIPARI study group consists of Mikael Ekblad, BM; Satu Ekblad, RN; Eeva Ekholm, MD, PhD, Leena Haataja, MD, Prof.; Mira Huhtala, MD; Pentti Kero, MD, PhD; Riikka Korja, PhD; Harry Kujari, MD; Helena Lapinleimu, MD, PhD; Liisa Lehtonen, MD, PhD; Marika Leppänen, MD; Annika Lind, MA; Hanna Manninen, MD; Jonna Maunu, MD, PhD; Jaakko Matomäki, MSc; Petriina Munck, MA, Pekka Niemi, Prof.; Pertti Palo, MD, PhD; Riitta Parkkola, MD, PhD; Jorma Piha, MD, Prof.; Liisi Rautava, MD, PhD; Päivi Rautava, MD, Prof.; Hellevi Rikalainen, MD, PhD; Katriina Saarinen, Physiotherapist; Elina Savonlahti, MD; Matti Sillanpää, MD, Prof.; Suvi Stolt, PhD; Päivi Tuomikoski-Koiranen, RN; Anniina Väliaho, Milla Ylijoki, MD, PhD; MA; Tuula Äärimaa, MD, PhD.


Mira Huhtala, MD, Department of Pediatrics/PIPARI, Turku University Hospital, Kiinamyllynkatu 4-8, 20250 Turku, Finland. Tel: +358 40 5941606 | Fax: +358 2 313 9100 | Email: mira.huhtala@utu.fi

Abstract

Aim:  To assess the associations between cognitive development of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants and measures of parental psychological well-being.

Methods:  In this prospective cohort study, 182 VLBW infants born 1/2001–12/2006 at the Turku University Hospital, Finland, were followed up. At 2 years corrected age, cognitive development of the child was assessed using the Mental Development Index of Bayley Scales, and both parents filled in validated questionnaires defining parental psychological well-being (Beck Depression Inventory, Parenting Stress Index and Sense of Coherence Scale).

Results:  The cognitive delay of the infant was associated with paternal symptoms of depression (p = 0.007) and parenting stress (p = 0.03). Mothers of the infants with cognitive delay reported increased parenting stress related to the difficulty to accept the child (p = 0.001). Weak sense of coherence predicted depressive symptoms in both parents (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion:  Even if the fathers of VLBW infants experienced depressive symptoms less often than the mothers, the ability of the fathers to cope was significantly associated with the cognitive development of the infant. In addition, the fathers reported more parenting stress if the infant had a cognitive delay. The mothers reported more parenting stress related to accepting the VLBW infant with cognitive delay.

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