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Title: Parenting a child born prematurely : comparision of fathers' and mothers' perceptions of vulnerability, child temperament and parenting stress
Author: Duckworth, Catherine
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2001
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Differences in the experiences of 24 fathers of premature children in comparison to 24 fathers of children born at term, and to 24 mothers of premature children were investigated with regard to perceptions of their children's vulnerability to health problems, child temperament and parenting stress. It was hypothesised that (1) fathers of children born prematurely would perceive their currently healthy children to be more vulnerable than fathers of full term children; (2) fathers of children born prematurely would perceive their currently healthy children to be less vulnerable than mothers of the same children; and (3) paternal perceptions of vulnerability regarding their children born prematurely would be related to paternal perception of child temperament and paternal parenting stress. The results showed no differences between perceptions of vulnerability of fathers of children born prematurely and fathers of children born at term, although significantly more fathers of premature children felt the need to take special care of their children. There were no differences between paternal and maternal perceptions of vulnerability of children born prematurely. There was a relationship between paternal perceptions of vulnerability, parenting stress and perceptions of negative mood in their children. Qualitative information illustrated the impact of premature birth on fathers. The results were interpreted in relation to (1) the Vulnerable Child Syndrome (Green & Solnit, 1964) which suggests that premature birth may contribute to disturbances in the parent-child relationship; and (2) the transactional model of child development, which suggests that parental perceptions, child temperament and parental stress are interdependent, and that paternal beliefs and anxieties modify and mediate maternal behaviour (Sameroff & Chandler, 1975, Parke & Anderson, 1987). Identified areas for future research include larger scale research which attempts to disentangle the complex interaction of predisposing factors which contribute to the Vulnerable Child Syndrome. Clinical implications of the study are discussed including recognition of the impact of premature birth on both parents, and the importance of messages given by medical professionals. Neonatal services are encouraged to cater for the needs of fathers, and expanded support/clinical services are recommended.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available