Attachment disorganization among children in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Preliminary results.

TitleAttachment disorganization among children in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Preliminary results.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPennestri M-H, Gaudreau H, Bouvette-Turcot A-A, Moss E, Lecompte V, Atkinson L, Lydon J, Steiner M, Meaney MJ
Corporate AuthorsMAVAN Research Team
JournalEarly Hum Dev
Date Published2015 Oct
KeywordsAdult, Apgar Score, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Intensive Care, Neonatal, Logistic Models, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Mother-Child Relations, Object Attachment, Odds Ratio, Stress, Psychological

BACKGROUND: Preterm children have been reported to be at higher risk to develop attachment insecurity.AIMS: The present study aimed to investigate potential differences in attachment security between newborns who were sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and those who were not, in a population of full-term children.STUDY DESIGN: Participants (162 mother-child dyads) were part of a longitudinal study (MAVAN). Twenty-three of these children received special care at birth (NICU group). Attachment security was assessed at 36 months with the Strange Situation Procedure. Socio-economic status (SES), birth weight, maternal mood, maternal sensitivity, mental/psychomotor developmental indexes, Apgar scores, presence of complications during delivery and infant general health were assessed.RESULTS: In the No-NICU group, 55.4% of children were securely attached, 24.5% were insecure and 20.1% were disorganized. However, in the NICU group, 43.5% of children were securely attached, 8.7% were insecure and 47.8% were disorganized (χ(2)=9.0; p=.01). The only differences between the 2 groups were a lower Apgar, more respiratory infections and more visits to walk-in clinic/hospital (p's<.05) and a trend for lower SES and more ear infections in the NICU group. Logistic regressions revealed an odds ratio of 6.1 (p=.003) of developing a disorganized attachment after a stay in NICU, when controlling for these confounding variables.CONCLUSION: Newborns who were admitted to NICU have an odds ratio of about 6 to develop a disorganized attachment at 36 months. These preliminary results support the importance of supportive parental proximity and contact with the infant in the NICU and possible after-care.

Alternate JournalEarly Hum. Dev.
PubMed ID26261864
Grant List93543 / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada