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Dev Psychol. 2002 Mar;38(2):194-207.

Skin-to-Skin contact (Kangaroo care) promotes self-regulation in premature infants: sleep-wake cyclicity, arousal modulation, and sustained exploration.

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Department of Psychology, Bar-tlan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.


The effect of mother-infant skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care, or KC) on self-regulatory processes of premature infants was studied. Seventy-three infants who received KC were compared with 73 infants matched for birth weight, gestational age, medical risk, and family demographics. State organization was measured in 10-s epochs over 4 hr before KC and again at term. No differences between KC infants and controls were found before KC. At term, KC infants showed more mature state distribution and more organized sleep-wake cyclicity. At 3 months, KC infants had higher thresholds to negative emotionality and more efficient arousal modulation while attending to increasingly complex stimuli. At 6 months, longer duration of and shorter latencies to mother-infant shared attention and infant sustained exploration in a toy session were found for KC infants. The results underscore the importance of maternal body contact for infants' physiological, emotional, and cognitive regulatory capacities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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