Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smart, Laura S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Failure to thrive syndrome; Postnatal care--Psychological aspects; Mother and infant


The breakdown of mother-infant interaction can lead to a condition known as non-organic failure to thrive (NOFTT). This condition results in social withdrawal of the infant from interaction and food refusal, leading to physical illness and possibly death. Infants who survive this condition have developmental delays in several areas: physical, social and emotional. This study examined medical records of NOFTT infants, the mothers of these infants and control mother-infant dyads in order to determine whether a significant relationship exists between the manner in which mothers respond to their infants within the first few days after delivery, and the incidence of NOFTT. A retrospective medical review was conducted at each of the three medical hospitals in the city of Rockford, IL. Medical records of NOFTT and control mothers and infants were examined for the documentation of observed attachment behaviors and other factors (including, SES membership, maternal age, sex, race, prenatal care and classes, planned pregnancy). Means were compared by use of t test and frequencies by chi square, with use of confidence intervals. Significant differences were seen in attachment means at Saint Anthony Hospital and the hypothesis accepted, yet not significant difference was seen at Swedish American Hospital and the hypothesis rejected. Significant differences were seen in terms of SES membership, presence of prenatal care and attendance of prenatal classes. Lack of parenting education is seen as playing a role in the incidence of NOFTT. Targeting populations at risk for NOFTT and providing prenatal care and education that is accessible to the mother may avoid the development of NOFTT. At the very least, this education possibly could mitigate the effects of NOFTT by enhancing the mother-infant relationship.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-67).


iv, 71 pages




Northern Illinois University

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