Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Fall 12-20-1968

Abstract

The problem considered in this study was: Does tactile stimulation which nursing personnel provide produce positive responses in newborn infants? A review of the literature indicated that the infant is born with physical and emotional needs which must be fulfilled in order for the infant to develop into a healthy adult. One of these emotional needs is stimulation from the environment and from other human beings. This stimulation is communicated to the infant through his senses, of which the sense of touch is the most highly developed at birth. Thus, the first impressions which a newborn receives is through the sense of touch. The nurse is frequently one of the few persons having opportunity for contact with the newborn infant, and it is the responsibility of the nurse to use the most effective means of communicating with the infant. This is the sense of touch. The hypothesis tested in this study was: The greater the amount of nursing time devoted to providing tactile stimulation to newborn infants, the greater the positive responses of the infants. The independent variable, tactile stimulation, was categorized into bodily contact, which included holding and/or cuddling, and into touching. The dependent variable, positive responses, was defined as the onset of cessation of crying, elimination of frowning, and/or observable muscular relaxation. The investigator observed and recorded in seconds the tactile stimulation which nursing personnel provided the infants. The responses of the infants were then observed and recorded in seconds. This procedure was done the afternoon of the first day after birth from one o'clock to three o'clock and was repeated the following three days. A convenience sample of newborn infants at Colorado General Hospital was selected for observation. All the infants were being relinquished by the mothers and were in good physical condition. Each infant was at least twelve hours of age at the time of the first observation and not more than ninety-six hours at the time of the final observation. Correlation of coefficient, r^, was used to determine the relationship between bodily contact and positive responses and between touch and positive responses. A correlation of 0.59 was obtained between bodily contact and positive responses with a percentage reduction in error of 35%. The correlation, r, between touch and positive responses was 0.24 with a percentage reduction in error of 6%. The relation between bodily contact and positive responses was interpreted as being a moderate one, and the relation between touch and positive responses was a very slight one. Therefore, the hypothesis was moderately supported when bodily contact was the form of tactile stimulation provided the newborn infants by nursing personnel, but was not supported when touch was the form of tactile stimulation. Considering the results and limitations of the study, it was concluded that there was a moderate relationship between bodily contact given newborn infants by nursing personnel and the positive responses of the infants. There was only a slight relationship between touch given newborn infants by nursing personnel and the positive responses of the infants. Bodily contact given newborn infants by nursing personnel had more effect on positive responses than touch.

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