Maternal Self-esteem and Mastery in Relation to Infant Birthweight


Follow-up studies of very low birthweight (VLBW) infants have demonstrated that psychosocial as well as medical factors place infants at high risk for poor developmental outcome. Psychological resources of 40 new mothers were studied in a population of low-income Mexican-American women who delivered at Medical Center Hospital in San Antonio. Twenty subjects were mothers of VLBW infants (≤1250 grams) and 20 were mothers of normal birthweight (NBW) infants. Groups were matched on year of infant's birth, birth order, sex ratio, ethnicity, years of education, and marital status. Prior to the infant's hospital discharge mothers completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem and Pearlin Mastery Scales. Alpha reliability coefficients for the Self-Esteem Scale were .86 for the VLBW group and .65 for the NBW group (z=n.s.). For the Mastery Scale they were .78 and .34 (z=.04). Seventy percent of all mothers were found to have high levels of self-esteem and self-esteem was not related to birthweight group. Only 45% of VLBW mothers were found to have high levels of mastery and mastery scores were significantly related to self-esteem scores (r=.67) in the VLBW group. Contrary to expectations regarding the psychological resources of a low-income, minority population, mothers were found to regard themselves very positively, regardless of the infant's birthweight.

DOI: 10.1203/00006450-198404001-00119

Cite this paper

@article{Schlansker1984MaternalSA, title={Maternal Self-esteem and Mastery in Relation to Infant Birthweight}, author={Jill T Schlansker and Marilyn B Escobedo and Cheryl Cipriani and Carolyn McLerran and Maria Teresa Guerra Rendon and Roberta Davis and L. P. Gold}, journal={Pediatric Research}, year={1984}, volume={18}, pages={113A-113A} }