Psychological distress and resilience of mothers and fathers with respect to the neurobehavioral performance of small-for-gestational-age newborns.


Mercedes Bellido-González


Department of Developmental Psychology and Education, Faculty of Education Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. [Email]


BACKGROUND : The existence of psychological distress (PD) during pregnancy is well established. Nevertheless, few studies have analyzed the PD and resilience of mothers and fathers during high-risk pregnancy. This study analyzes the differences between parents' PD and resilience and the relation between them and the neurobehavioral performance of their SGA newborns.
METHODS : This prospective study compares two groups of parents and newborns: case group (52 parents and 26 SGA fetuses) and comparison group (68 parents and 34 appropriate-for-gestational-age, AGA, fetuses). In each group, the parents were evaluated during the last trimester of pregnancy, to obtain standardized measures of depression, stress, anxiety, and resilience. At 40 ± 1 weeks corrected gestational age, psychologists evaluated the state of neonatal neuromaturity achieved.
RESULTS : Multivariate analysis of variance showed, in gender comparisons, that mothers obtained higher scores than fathers for psychological distress but lower ones for resilience. Similar differences were obtained in the comparison of parents' distress to intrauterine growth by SGA vs. AGA newborns. Mothers of SGA newborns were more distressed than the other groups. However, there were no differences between the fathers of SGA vs. AGA newborns. Regarding neurobehavioral performance, the profiles of SGA newborns reflected a lower degree of maturity than those of AGA newborns. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that high stress and low resilience among mothers partially predict low neurobehavioral performance in SGA newborns.
CONCLUSIONS : These findings indicate that mothers of SGA newborns may need psychological support to relieve stress and improve their resilience. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the neurobehavioral performance of their babies in case early attention is needed.


Neurobehavioral performance,Parental psychological distress,Pregnancy,Resilience,Small-for-gestational-age,

OUR Recent Articles