Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy
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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department
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Helene Chaya Hendel. 2017. Effects of Moderate Pressure Massage on Self-Regulation and Play in Preterm Babies. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department. (59)
The purpose of this study was to examine whether mother-administered moderate pressure massage intervention could improve self-regulation, which would result in improvements in play outcomes. It was posited that a child who is self-regulated may be more successful in his/her play and that moderate pressure massage could be an effective tool to improve self-regulation in preterm infants with decreased self-regulation. Participants in the study were five preterm children ranging from 12 to 18 months corrected age and their mothers. The study utilized an A-B nonconcurrent multiple baselines across subjects design in which each participant acted as his/her own control as well as a pretesting and posttesting component with objective measures. Baselines were of varying lengths, ranging from 3 to 7 weeks. Intervention of mother-administered massage was 6 weeks long for all participants. Three objective standardized measures were used in pretesting and posttesting. These measures included the Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment to measure self-regulation, the Revised Knox Preschool Play Scale to measure play age, and the Test of Playfulness to measure playfulness. Visual analogue scales, with mother generated behavioral goals related to the three standardized assessments, were scored weekly by the mothers. The results indicated that moderate pressure massage had a calming and regulating effect on the child and resulted in improvements in the child’s play skills and playfulness over the course of the 6 weeks of intervention. The important clinical implications are that this cost-effective, parent-administered technique can positively affect outcomes of improved self-regulation, playfulness, and play skills. In addition, the study contributes important information about the influence of self-regulation on the development of play and playfulness in preterm babies and on mothers’ participation in their baby’s intervention, which contributes to a family-centered approach.