Home Environment May Improve Psychiatric Outcomes for Earliest Preemies
A new study suggests that a preterm infant’s home and family environment has more of an impact on the child’s psychiatric health than medical challenges at birth.
[Pysch Central, 8/27/19] The findings are published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
In general, babies who are born at least 10 weeks before their due dates are at greater risk for developing psychiatric issues such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders.
They are also at greater risk for other neurodevelopmental problems, including cognitive and language difficulties, and motor delays.
In the study, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis discovered that the children who were most likely to overcome the complications of being born so early, and who showed normal psychiatric and neurodevelopmental outcomes, were those with healthier, more nurturing mothers and more stable home lives.
“Home environment is what really differentiated these kids,” said first author Rachel E. Lean, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate in child psychiatry.
“Preterm children who did the best had mothers who reported lower levels of depression and parenting stress. These children received more cognitive stimulation in the home, with parents who read to them and did other learning-type activities with their children.”
“There also tended to be more stability in their families. That suggests to us that modifiable factors in the home life of a child could lead to positive outcomes for these very preterm infants.”
The researchers evaluated 125 children at age 5. Of these, 85 had been born at least 10 weeks before their due dates. The other 40 children in the study were born full term, at 40 weeks’ gestation………
Read the Full Article at: Psych Central
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