Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Jacqueline McGrath


The experience of becoming a mother is a personal and social experience influenced by individual characteristics, friends and family, and the infant. The journey to become a mother encompasses concepts of maternal competence and responsiveness. The purpose of this study was to examine maternal competence and responsiveness to the infant in mothers of late preterm infants compared to mothers of full term infants. The conceptual model for this work was based on the work of Reva Rubin describing maternal identity and role development. Maternal competence and responsiveness are components of maternal role and are influenced by social support, maternal self-esteem, well-being, stress and mood. In addition, infant temperament and perception of infant vulnerability influence development of maternal competence and responsiveness. A non-experimental repeated measures design was used to compare maternal competence and responsiveness in two groups of postpartum mothers. One group consisted of mothers of late preterm infants 34-36, 6/7 weeks gestation. The second group consisted of mothers of term infants, >/=37 weeks gestation. Both primiparas and multiparas were included in the study. Data was collected in the initial postpartum period prior to discharge from the hospital and again at six-weeks postpartum. No statistically significant differences in development of maternal competence or responsiveness between mothers of LPIs and term infants were identified. This study adds to our knowledge concerning outcomes of mothers of late preterm infants and development of competence and responsiveness.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011

Included in

Nursing Commons