While premature infants have a high need for positive interactions, both infants and their mothers are challenged by the infant's biological immaturity. This randomized clinical trial of 198 premature infants born at 29-34 weeks gestation and their mothers examined the impact of the H-HOPE (Hospital to Home: Optimizing the Infant's Environment) intervention on mother-premature infant interaction patterns at 6-weeks corrected age (CA). Mothers had at least 2 social environmental risk factors such as minority status or less than high school education. Mother-infant dyads were randomly assigned to the H-HOPE intervention group or an attention control group. H-HOPE is an integrated intervention that included (1) twice-daily infant stimulation using the ATVV (auditory, tactile, visual, and vestibular-rocking stimulation) and (2) four maternal participatory guidance sessions plus two telephone calls by a nurse-community advocate team. Mother-infant interaction was assessed at 6-weeks CA using the Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training-Feeding Scale (NCAST, 76 items) and the Dyadic Mutuality Code (DMC, 6-item contingency scale during a 5-min play session). NCAST and DMC scores for the Control and H-HOPE groups were compared using t-tests, chi-square tests and multivariable analysis. Compared with the Control group (n = 76), the H-HOPE group (n = 66) had higher overall NCAST scores and higher maternal Social-Emotional Growth Fostering Subscale scores. The H-HOPE group also had significantly higher scores for the overall infant subscale and the Infant Clarity of Cues Subscale (p < 0.05). H-HOPE dyads were also more likely to have high responsiveness during play as measured by the DMC (67.6% versus 58.1% of controls). After adjustment for significant maternal and infant characteristics, H-HOPE dyads had marginally higher scores during feeding on overall mother-infant interaction (β = 2.03, p = 0.06) and significantly higher scores on the infant subscale (β = 0.75, p = 0.05) when compared to controls. In the adjusted analysis, H-HOPE dyads had increased odds of high versus low mutual responsiveness during play (OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 0.97, 5.80). Intervening with both mother and infant is a promising approach to help premature infants achieve the social interaction patterns essential for optimal development.
Keywords: Low-income mothers; Mother–infant interaction; Multisensory intervention; Preterm infants; Social interactive behaviors.
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