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Public Health Rep. 1993 Sep-Oct;108(5):589-94.

Risk status for dropping out of developmental followup for very low birth weight infants.

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Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


Not keeping scheduled visits for medical care is a major health care issue. Little research has addressed how the interaction of demographic and biomedical parameters with psychosocial processes has an impact on appointment keeping. Typical factors are stress of daily living, methods of coping, social support, and instrumental support (that is, tangible assistance). In this study, the authors examine the role of these parameters and processes in the risk status for dropping out of a developmental followup program for very low birth weight infants. The findings suggest that the stress of daily living is a significant predictor for the mother's return when the infant is 6 months of age (corrected for prematurity). The predictors for return at 24 months corrected age include marital status, race, gestational age of the infant, maternal intelligence, and efficacy expectations. Providing transportation was found to be a successful intervention strategy for a subgroup at very high risk for dropping out due to a constellation of biomedical, demographic, and psychosocial factors.

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