Objective: Sustained withdrawal is a sign of infant
distress and may be determined by extreme conditions like organic pathology
or relationship problems. The Alarm Distress Baby Scale is the best instrument
to identify withdrawal in infants between 2 and 24 months of age. The aim of
this study was to assess the association between infant social withdrawal behavior
and maternal pathology in the perinatal period. Method: The target sample of
the study was 134 mother-child couples examined at the Policlinico Agostino
Gemelli General Pediatric Outpatient Clinic and Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic,
in Rome. We analyzed the relationship between withdrawal behavior and
psychological and organic prenatal/postnatal pathology, using the Chi Square
exact test. Results: When the mother suffers from both organic and psychological
pathologies in the perinatal period, the risk of withdrawal is increased: the
probability of infant withdrawal behavior is increased by maternal organic
postnatal pathology by 14 times, by maternal psychological postnatal pathology
by 9 times, and by maternal psychological postnatal depression, measured by
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, by almost 4 times. Conclusion: Increased
or sustained withdrawal reactions can be observed in unsatisfactory
mother-child interaction. Maternal risk factors should be strictly considered
in the pediatric clinical evaluation.
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