Compared 30 mothers whose children were hospitalized for failure-to-thrive (FTT) to a normative group on standardized measures of perceived stress and depression. Child and maternal medical and demographic data were also taken. Standardized developmetal and feeding assessments were done. Descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, and t tests were used to describe and examine group differences. FTT children were perceived overall as more stressful, less adaptable, more inconsolable, and more unhappy than were healthy children. Child characcteristics associated with higher maternal stress levels were higher bright weight, absence of organic disease or behavioral feeding problems, and higher IQ. Maternal self-report of depression, attachment to her child, sense of competence in parenting, social isolation, and relationship to spouse were not different from the normative sample.

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