NEURODEVELOPMENTAL IMPAIRMENT: PREDICTORS OF ITS IMPACT ON THE FAMILIES OF EXTREMELY LOW BIRTH WEIGHT INFANTS AT 18 MONTHS

Infant Ment Health J. 2008 Nov 1;29(6):570-587. doi: 10.1002/imhj.20196.

Abstract

Effects on a family of a child with chronic illness have been described. The Impact on Family Scale (IOF) was developed to measure these effects. The impact of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with neurodevelopmental impairment on families is unknown. This study determined IOF scores for families of ELBW infants with increasing degree of impairment at 18 months and identified factors that increase vulnerability to impact. A total of 3,849 ELBW infant survivors born at the 16 centers of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network between January 1993 and February 2001 were assessed at 18 to 22 months. Infants were divided into four groups by degree of impairment. IOF scores were analyzed by impairment group. Multivariate analyses assessed effects of impairment, social/demographic factors, unmet service needs, and resource utilization on the IOF. A total of 1,624 (42.2%) infants had moderate/severe impairment. Increasing severity of impairment was associated with higher IOF scores. Severity of impairment contributed 6% of variance to the IOF scores. Twenty-one percent of variance was contributed by additional medical needs, low socioeconomic status (SES), and lack of social support. Although increasing severity of impairment impacts families of ELBW infants, significantly more impact is contributed by additional medical needs, low SES, and lack of social support.

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