Do Occupational Performance and Social Support Predict Health and Well-Being Among Mothers of Preterm Infants?

Orit Bart, Meirav Rosenfeld, Iris Morag, Tzipora Strauss, Michal Avrech Bar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Giving birth to a preterm infant has significant implications on the mother’s life. The purpose of this study was to compare occupational performance (performance of everyday occupations), social support, perceived health (mental and physical) and life satisfaction between mothers of preterm and term infants and to assess whether occupational performance, social support and infant characteristics such as birth weight, explain mothers’ health and life satisfaction. This cross-sectional study included 30 mothers of preterm singletons and 30 mothers of term infants (age 22–41) four months after hospital discharge. The data was gathered using three self-report questionnaires: Satisfaction with life Scale; Short Form Health Survey Questionnaire; and the Maternal Social Support Index and a semi-structured interview (the Occupational Performance History Interview) which was analyzed quantitatively and measured occupational performance by three components: occupational identity, competence and settings. Mothers of preterm infants exhibited lower occupational competence and identity scores and higher perceived physical health. Social support, life satisfaction and perceived total and mental health were comparable between groups. Occupational competence predicted perceived mental health and life satisfaction, and occupational settings and social support predicted life satisfaction among all mothers. The study findings shed new light on occupational aspects pertaining to mothers of preterm infants after discharge. Their ability to engage in varied occupations is lower than mothers of term infants. Therefore, as part of a health promotion agenda, mothers of premature infants may benefit from interventions that are focused on their needs and not only on the infants’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1761-1770
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Mothers
  • Preterm infants
  • Satisfaction
  • Social support
  • Women’s health


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