Social stimulation and the regulation of premature infants' state prior to term age
Behavioral responsiveness to human speech and gentle stroking of the limbs was assessed in 15 very low birth-weight infants (VLBW: <1500 gms) between 30 and 34 weeks postconceptional age. Responsiveness was examined as a function of infants' initial behavioral state and contrasted for higher versus lower biological risk infants. Talking led to increases in eye opening when infants were quiescent and to decreases in limb activity and avoidance cues when infants were highly active. Stroking, without talking, produced increased limb movements when infants were quiescent and, for higher-risk infants, when they were visually attentive. Stroking combined with talking produced effects similar to stroking; but the combination also led to increased avoidance cues in higher-risk infants. Talking aided the infants in achieving a quiet, visually attentive state; stroking or the combination of talking and stroking produced a motorically active state suggestive of agitation and motoric disorganization especially among higher-risk infants. © 1988.
Oehler, JM; Eckerman, CO; Wilson, WH
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