A preventive intervention with 'at-risk' premature infants: Its effects on development
Wagner, Deborah Rifka
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This aim of this study was to study a research intervention in low social class premature infant sample. The intervention consisted of giving the mothers of the premature infants soft baby carriers in which to carry them. It was hypothesized that early and extended carrying would decrease some of the cognitive, motoric and social/attentive delays that are so common in premature populations. The soft baby carrier affords a multitude of diverse stimulation to the infant while it gives the mother a very direct vehicle for closeness and bonding to her baby.;The carrying intervention was the procedure followed for the intervention group. The sample also consisted of two control groups; one a premature control and one a full-term control. The two control groups were not given a carrying device but were assessed on the same measures of cognition, motor development and social/attentive development. All three groups were drawn from a low SES black and hispanic population.;Follow-up consisted of assessing the effects of the intervention by testing the infants in the three groups with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and the Fagan Test of Visual Recognition Memory at 7 and 12 months, corrected ages. Through a thorough examination of the performance on these tests we obtained measures in each of the areas outlined above.;Our results confirmed the hypothesis that early and extended carrying did have beneficial effects on cognitive development at both 7 and 12 months. Psychomotor development showed advantages in the intervened group at 7 months and social/emotional advantages emerged in the carried group at both follow-up ages. The Bayley, overall, showed stronger and more direct effects than the Fagan.