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Dev Psychol. 2001 Sep;37(5):654-67.

Maternal coping strategies and emotional distress: results of an early intervention program for low birth weight young children.

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Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA.


Several questions were examined with Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP) data (N = 843). Are effects of intervention services found for maternal emotional distress and coping strategies, and are these effects different for different groups of mothers? Do maternal distress, coping, and life events moderate (or mediate) the intervention effects reported earlier for children's test scores and behavior problems (IHDP, 1990)? The intervention reduced maternal distress, especially for women with less than a high school education. Maternal distress did not moderate or mediate the influence of the intervention on child outcomes. Maternal coping was not influenced by the intervention and did not moderate the influence of the intervention on child outcomes. Life events moderated the influence of the intervention on children's test scores; the intervention was more effective for children whose mothers had fewer life events.

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