The present study assessed differences in stress responses of mothers and fathers of premature low birth weight infants. The sample consisted of 45 parents, 32 mothers and 13 fathers whose infants ranged in age from six to forty-eight months. At birth, these children's length of gestation ranged from 23-37 weeks, and they weighed between 351-2817 grams. Results indicated that mothers experience more stress symptoms six months after the birth of their premature children than do fathers. Furthermore, mothers' intrusive stress experiences outnumber fathers' when their premature infants reach six months of age. These findings highlight the differential experience of mothers and fathers when their child is born prematurely. The impact of sample size on our findings is also discussed, as are implications for future research.
KEY WORDS: Premature, low birth weight, stress, and parental reactions.
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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.