Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 238–247

Psychological Sequelae in Parents of Extreme Low and Very Low Birth Weight Infants


    • Institute of PsychologyUniversity of Aarhus
  • Tilde Hartvig
    • Psykologhuset
  • Marianne Christiansen
    • Child Psychiatry Hospital

DOI: 10.1007/s10880-007-9077-4

Cite this article as:
Elklit, A., Hartvig, T. & Christiansen, M. J Clin Psychol Med Settings (2007) 14: 238. doi:10.1007/s10880-007-9077-4


The current study evaluated the psychological sequelae in 66 parents of extreme low and very low birth weight infants (mean weight of 842 g). Parents who had given birth within a 3-year period prior to the study were chosen from the archives of a neonatal ward and surveyed regarding posttraumatic stress, coping strategies, and social support. Thirty-five percent of the parents reported that their child had a handicap. Twenty percent of the women met the criteria of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the time of the study, and an additional 10% met the criteria for a subclinical PTSD diagnosis. Female gender, handicap of the child, general distress during hospitalization, distressing contact with hospital staff, experienced distress at homecoming, and emotional coping, explained 72% of the degree of traumatization. Psychological support and intervention is recommended during the hospital stay of a premature infant who has a handicap and after the homecoming to prevent the development of chronic PTSD and reduce the associated distress.


Premature infantLow birth weightPTSDCopingSocial support

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007