Aspects of Tactile Stimulation With Infants in Intensive and Special Care Baby Units

de Roiste, Eilis Aine Mhaire (1991) Aspects of Tactile Stimulation With Infants in Intensive and Special Care Baby Units. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A series of studies was conducted to investigate the effects of a programme of tactile stimulation, "Tac-Tic" (Macedo, 1984), on preterm and low-birthweight infants. This programme of sequenced stroking was administered for 20 minutes daily for the duration of the infant's hospitalization. In comparison to their matched retrospective controls, on the short-term measures of: (1) age at first suck of all feeds in a day (2) age at removal from an incubator into a cot (3) age at discharge the stroked infants were found to display significantly earlier ages in measures (2) and (3). Using prospective controls the same pattern was found with the experimental, group compared to controls, being significantly younger on the first measure. At fifteen months these infants were assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Bayley, 1969) with measures of stimulation in the home and parenting also being taken. The experimental as compared to control infants were found to have significantly higher scores on mental development (M.D.I). Using Meisels et al.'s (1987) I.B.R. factor structure, experimental infants were also found to be significantly more advanced than their controls on a number of behavioural factors such as Social Orientation and Test-Affect- Extraversion. Mothers of the experimental as compared to control sample were also found to be significantly more satisfied with the parental role when measured by the Self Perceptions of the Parental Role questionnaire (McPhee et al., 1986). A sample of ventilated preterms were also administered a shortened version (4 minutes per day) of the Tac-Tic procedure and the effects on heart rate, respiration rate and tcpo2 (oxygenation) were monitored using an interrupted time-series design. A significant drop in heart rate and increase in respiration rate were found to take place after the stroking. In comparison maternal touching showed no significant differences in percentage increase in heart rate, respiration rate or tcpo2. Overall, it was concluded that the shortened version of the Tac-Tic stroking programme did not compromise the health of these very-ill infants. In a further study, the effects of the stroking programme on infant performance in an instrumental conditioning task were examined. This task involved sucking at/above a particular pressure to obtain the mother's voice (reinforcer) on a tape-recorder. Experimental, in comparison to control, infants were found to show a better performance on this task which closely approached significance, in terms of percentage increase in sucking pressure during those times when sucking pressure brought on the mother's voice. The mechanism by which Tac-Tic has its' influences was examined through the gastric effects of the stroking programme. Using a pretest-posttest design, gastric aspirates were taken before and after: (1) the Tac-Tic stroking in experimental infants (2) a control period of non-intervention time in control infants. A significantly higher drop in pH was found in the experimental as compared to control sample, which suggests an association between stroking and feeding. No significant differences were found between the experimental and control samples in either daily average weight gain or daily average food volume intake. In the above studies (except that with ventilated infants), the experimental and control samples were sub-divided into high-risk and low-risk categories, according to gestational age and birthweight. This was done to determine whether the Tac-Tic stroking had a greater effect on the high-risk (low gestational age and birthweight) as opposed to low-risk (high gestational age and birthweight) infants. This pattern was found in the results and was statistically significant in the first study. The behavioural effects of the Tac-Tic stroking on preterms and low-birthweight infants was then looked at, with both parents and the experimenter all recording infant's reactions while s\he was being stroked by the mother and father (seperately). Limb movements were found to be significantly the most frequent infant reaction across all three of the bodily categories of strokes (head, trunk and limb).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: I W R Bushnell
Keywords: Clinical psychology, Developmental psychology
Date of Award: 1991
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1991-75227
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 21:41
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 21:41

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