Purpose: To determine the effect of demonstrating the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) on the development of a maternal identity.
Design: Quasiexperimental design with matched groups.
Methods: As part of a larger longitudinal study examining maternal identity, pregnant women were recruited during prenatal classes or routine obstetrical visits; they then completed questionnaires assessing demographic, psychosocial, and maternal identity variables. All women were visited in the hospital after delivery. Three weeks after delivery, the women completed a question-naire packet assessing demographic, psychosocial, maternal identity, and infant variables. Demonstration of the NBAS in the hospital after delivery was included as a pilot project within the larger study. For the pilot project, 22 women who received a demonstration of the NBAS were matched on age, parity, and socioeconomic status with 22 women from the larger study who did not receive the demonstration.
Results: No significant differences between groups were noted on any prenatal or postnatal psychosocial or maternal identity variables. However, women who received a demonstration of the NBAS found their infants to be significantly more predictable than infants of women in the control group.
Clinical Implications: Demonstration of the NBAS had little effect on the development of a maternal identity in the women studied. However, the NBAS was a useful teaching tool for helping mothers anticipate their infants' responses to environmental stimuli. Further research is needed in this area.
Eileen R. Fowles is an Assistant Professor, Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. She can be reached at Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University, P.O. Box 5810, Normal, Illinois 61790-5810.