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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2000 Mar 10;112(5):216-20.

SIDS related anxiety--a risk factor analysis.

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Department of Neonatology, University Children's Hospital Vienna, Austria.



The growing public interest in the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has led to a new psychological problem--SIDS related anxiety (SRA). General public awareness, unfavourable experience in the past, present problems with the infant or insufficient support from the family may lead or contribute to SRA.


The study was conducted to explore which of these factors contribute most to the development of SRA.


Families visiting our outpatient clinic during 18 months were interviewed by means of a structured questionnaire. We assessed demographic data, obstetric history, experience of child loss, pregnancy and delivery complications, infant morbidity, family-child interaction, family support and the relation of each of these single factors to SRA.


Of 169 families, 58% (98/169) admitted to suffer from SRA and 21% (32/156) from severe SRA. We found a strong and significant relationship between previous experience of child loss and SRA (OR: 2.95, 95% CI: 1.43-6.09, P < 0.005) and between pregnancy complications and SRA (OR: 2.19, 95% CI: 1.18-4.08, P < 0.05). There were no significant relationships between SRA and either delivery complications, child morbidity, impaired family-child interaction or insufficient support from the family.


SRA occurs in an unexpectedly large proportion of families visiting a SIDS counseling clinic. SRA must be taken seriously, and psychological or psychotherapeutic help should be offered. Prevention of SRA should include psychological care for families who experience loss of children or high-risk pregnancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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