Objective To develop a brief and reliable measure of maternal perceptions of early interactions with their premature infants.
Methods The study was a cross-sectional survey of mothers accessing a premature baby charity website (BLISS). Participants completed a 16 item online questionnaire assessing feelings about interactions with their premature baby and perceptions of the baby’s ability to interact during play. Items were derived from themes identified in previous qualitative research.
Results Completed questionnaires were received from 86 mothers who met the inclusion criterion of having a premature infant who was currently under the age of 2 years. A principal components analysis showed that 2 factors accounted for 53% of the variance in responses. Factor 1 (Infant characteristics subscale) had 6 items with factor loadings >0.5. High scores reflected stronger endorsement of the infant’s ability to participate in social interactions. Factor 2 (Maternal confidence subscale) had 6 items with factor loadings >0.5 and high scores reflecting less anxiety about interactions. Both subscales had excellent internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.841 and 0.837 respectively. Subscale scores were not associated with maternal age, maternal educational level, parity, current age of child or infant gestational age.
Conclusion The IPIQ was found to have face, content and discriminant validity together with excellent reliability. It therefore has potential as a useful tool to examine factors influencing early interactions and to determine the effectiveness of interventions with parents of premature infants.