The effects of kangaroo mother care in a sample of preterm, preschool aged children
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Submission date: 2014-03-06
Final revision date: 2014-03-27
Acceptance date: 2014-03-27
Online publication date: 2014-08-06
Publication date: 2014-08-08
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(3):208-217
The research has shown that kangaroo mother care has a protective impact both on health and future cognitive skills of prematurely born babies. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between the early skin-to-skin contact and the cognitive and emotional-social functioning of preschool aged preterm babies.

Participants and procedure
The study group included 99 preterm babies. The children participated in a psychological examination conducted using the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale and the Terman-Merrill Test. The data concerning the skin-to-skin contact during the child’s hospitalisation were acquired during interviews with mothers. The emotional development was assessed on the basis of interviews with mothers, conducted using the Rescorla DSM-IV Orientation Scale (2005).

The study showed no relation between kangaroo mother care and cognitive development. Nevertheless the early skin-to-skin contact turned out to be connected with the emotional functioning of the subjects. Preterm babies who used to experience kangaroo mother care experienced fewer anxiety and depressive disorders than those who did not. In addition it was revealed that the children who suffered from early damage to the brain in the forms of intraventricular and periventricular haemorrhages and experienced kangaroo mother care demonstrated less intense depressive symptoms than those who did not.

The obtained results, combined with the review of the foreign literature of the subject, indicate the usefulness of introducing kangaroo mother care to neonatal wards and encouraging parents to care about their prematurely born babies in such a way.
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