Preterm birth is the second leading cause of death under five years of age and is a risk factor for the development of the child and an event potentially traumatic for parents. The main aim of this paper is to present programs of prevention and treatment developed for mothers of preterm-born children, whose effectiveness has been demonstrated and that have been developed within the framework of the attachment theory. Overall, the programs under consideration show some effectiveness in improving the quality of the mother-child relationship, in supporting child development, and improving the psychological distress of parents. However, the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the programs, the role played by the various risk and protective factors, and how to integrate these knowledge into an effective program of prevention and treatment remain open questions. Here we propose that a useful contribution would derive from a greater consideration of the mother’s state of mind with respect to attachment in designing and implementing these programs: to develop the intervention according to the specific maternal characteristics would facilitate the achievement of positive outcomes for the mother, for the preterm-born child, and for their relationship.
Keywords: Attachment, intervention program, prematurity, preterm birth, prevention