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Mothers' Psychological Reactions to Premature and Full-Size Newborns

Nora Smith, MD; Jean R. Schwartz, MD; Wallace Mandell, PhD, MPH; Richard M. Siberstein, MD; John D. Dalack, PhD; Stanley Sacks, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(2):177-181. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740200049007.
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PARENTAL attitudes are important influences in the development of a child's personality.1 Disturbances in the early attitudes of mothers to their newborns may lead to chronic disturbances in the motherchild relationship.2 Since some of the psychological disturbances associated with prematurity may in themselves be the result of impaired mother-child relations,3 it would seem fruitful to explore the differences in psychological reaction patterns between mothers of premature and full-size infants during the early postpartum period to help clarify these issues.

Bibring describes pregnancy as maturational crisis which, when successfully mastered, allows the woman to accept her new role as a mother.2 Bibring states that the initial psychological task of the pregnant woman is to accept the growing fetus not as a foreign body but as part of herself. Bibring further states that with quickening a new phase starts


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