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J Psychosom Res. 1986;30(5):559-65.

Psychological variables and premature labour: a possible solution for some methodological problems.


Two studies on the relationship of psychological variables and premature labour were conducted. The first was a retrospective comparison of psychopathological tendencies, attitudes towards pregnancy, physical complaints during pregnancy and perceived marital and social support, between a group of women who had premature labour and a group of women with term deliveries without premature contractions. Data were collected a few months after deliveries to neutralize bias caused by anxiety for newborns' condition and by proximity in time to the trauma of premature delivery. The second study was a prospective one in which the target category included not only women who delivered prematurely but also women who developed premature contractions but delivered at term. In this study we examined trait and state anxiety, mothers' attitudes towards pregnancy and physical complaints during pregnancy. Results showed that psychopathological tendencies were linked to premature labour and premature contractions. No differences were found concerning perceived social support or mothers' attitudes towards pregnancy.

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