Health-related quality of life of mothers of very low birth weight children at the age of five: results from the newborn lung project statewide cohort study
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- Witt, W.P., Litzelman, K., Spear, H.A. et al. Qual Life Res (2012) 21: 1565. doi:10.1007/s11136-011-0069-3
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This study aimed to determine the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in mothers of 5-year-old very low birth weight (VLBW) and normal birth weight (NBW) children, with a focus on the role of stress.
This cohort study is ancillary to the Newborn Lung Project. A telephone interview collected information on symptoms of stress and HRQoL from 297 mothers of VLBW children and 290 mothers of NBW children who were enrolled in the Newborn Lung Project Statewide Cohort Study. Staged multiple regression analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between caregiver status and maternal HRQoL and the role stress played in this relationship. Additional multiple regression analyses were also used to evaluate the correlates of poor maternal HRQoL among VLBW mothers.
Mothers of VLBW children experienced worse physical and mental HRQoL than mothers of NBW children. Adjusted analyses showed that physical HRQoL was significantly different between these mothers (β: −1.87, P = 0.001); this relationship was attenuated by maternal stress. Among the mothers of VLBW children, stress significantly contributed to adverse HRQoL outcomes when children were aged five. Child behavior problems at the age of two were also associated with worse subsequent maternal mental HRQoL (β: −0.18, P = 0.004), while each week of neonatal intensive care unit stay was associated with worse physical HRQoL (β: −0.26, P = 0.02).
Caring for a VLBW child is negatively associated with the HRQoL of mothers; this relationship might be, in part, explained by maternal stress. Addressing maternal stress may be an important way to improve long-term HRQoL.
KeywordsVery low birth weightMaternal stressMaternal health-related quality of lifeLife course
Health-related quality of life
Very low birth weight (<1,500 g)
Low birth weight (<2,500 g)
Normal birth weight
Newborn Lung Statewide Cohort Study
Neonatal intensive care unit