This study examined the effect of a social-emotional intervention implemented in one St. Petersburg (Russian Federation) institution (called a Baby Home, BH) on the general behavioral development of preterm children (gestational ages of 30-36 weeks) during their first 2 years of life. The intervention consisted of training caregivers and implementing structural changes to create a more family-like environment. The study included preterm (N = 56) and full-term (N = 93) children from one BH that implemented the intervention and from another BH with no intervention. Children were assessed at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months of age with the Battelle Development Inventory (LINC Associates, 1988). The results showed that the intervention positively influenced the general behavioral development of BH preterm children throughout their first 2 years of life compared with preterm children from the no intervention BH. Also, results indicated that the intervention effect was developmentally similar for preterm and for full-term children, but preterm children consistently scored lower than full-term children during their first 2 years living in the BH. In general, our research emphasizes the crucial role of warm, sensitive, and responsive interactions with a constant and emotionally available caregiver for healthy child development for both term and preterm children.
Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health