The authors of this study evaluated infant and parent outcomes at 12 and 24 months after a clinician-supported, web-based early intervention for preterm infants.
To examine the efficacy of a clinician-supported, web-based intervention delivered over the first year after birth compared with standard care in children born after <34 weeks’ gestation, on child development at 24 months corrected age (CA), parental mental health, and the parent-child relationship at 24 months.
We randomly allocated 103 preterm infants to clinician-supported, web-based intervention (n = 50) or standard care control (n = 53) groups. At 24 months CA, child cognitive, language, motor, social–emotional development, and the parent–child relationship were assessed. Parental mental health and quality of life were assessed at 12 and 24 months CA.
At 24 months, child development, maternal mental health, and maternal quality of life were similar for the intervention and control groups. There was some evidence that mothers in the intervention group had lower odds of being in the elevated category for depression at 12 months (odds ratio: 0.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.04–0.90; P = .04). Scores were higher in the intervention group for child responsiveness (mean difference: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.03–1.11; P = .04), child involvement (mean difference: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.09–1.13; P = .02), and maternal structuring (mean difference: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.22–1.21; P = .01) during the parent–infant interaction at 24 months.
This study provides preliminary evidence that a clinician-supported, web-based early intervention program for preterm infants had a positive effect on the parent–child relationship and maternal mental health immediately after the intervention but potentially little effect on child development.