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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1985 Oct;6(5):298-301.

The vulnerable child syndrome: fact and theory.


Studies which have evaluated parent-child relationships following a life-threatening event indicate that parents and children have subsequent interactional difficulties. This study sampled a group of 17 mothers who gave birth to a low birth weight infant (mean weight 1260 grams) and compared them to 17 mothers of normal infants matched for age, education and marital status. The mothers were studied at the infant's adjusted chronological age of 12 to 18 months. At that time all infants were developing normally as determined by the Denver Prescreening Questionnaire. The results indicated that mothers of low birth weight infants did not demonstrate any greater degree of depression or over-protection than their matched controls. The findings of this preliminary study suggest the need for reassessing the relationship between prematurity and other life-threatening events and the psychological sequelae associated with the vulnerable child syndrome. Previous studies are reviewed, and their methodologies are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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