Post-traumatic symptomatology in parents with premature infants: a systematic review of the literature

Athanasios Karatzias, Zoe Chouliara, Fiona Maxton, Yvonne Frier, Kevin Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emotional distress resulting from the experience of giving birth to a preterm infant (gestational age , 37 weeks) and the subsequent neonatal unit hospitalisation may be a traumatic experience for parents. In the present systematic literature review, studies on parental posttraumatic symptomatology following birth of a premature infant were reviewed. A total of 5 studies were identified. All studies reviewed found that posttraumatic symptomatology is quite common in parents or primary caregivers of premature infants. However, methodological weaknesses of relevant studies (e.g. use of convenience samples, lack of pre – delivery assessments)make it difficult to draw consistent conclusions regarding prevalence of posttraumatic symptomatology in this population group or whether the experience of a premature birth could be responsible for the development of PTSD. Directions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Premature infants
  • PTSD
  • Post-traumatic symptomatology
  • Literature review


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