In this longitudinal prospective study, 2 groups of children, 39 preterms and 23 fullterms, were followed up regarding the mother-child relationship at 9 and 19 years of age. Information was obtained from both the children and their mothers. A self-report scale was utilized for the assessment of the conscious attachment model, and percept-genetic tests displaying pictorial mother-child themes were utilized as a method of evaluating the uncon¬scious attachment model. A questionnaire was used to measure the degree of expressed emotion in the mother-child relationship. Percept-genetic tests show that at 9 years of age, the preterm children and their mothers differed significantly from the full-terms in their reports of the mother-child theme, and that at age 19, the preterms differed significantly from the full-terms in their perceptions of the attachment and separation themes. A greater degree of expressed emotion was found among the preterm mother-child dyads. The results indicate that preterm children may harbor emotional vulnerability regarding attachment and separation as young adults.
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