Massage effects on cocaine-exposed preterm neonates

Abigail Wheeden, Frank A. Scafidi, Tiffany Field, Gail Ironson, Chad Valdeon, Emmalee Bandstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Thirty preterm cocaine-exposed preterm neonates (mean gestational age 30 wks, mean birth weight = 1212 g, mean intensive care unit duration = 18 days) were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a control group as soon as they were considered medically stable. Group assignment was based on a random stratification of gestational age, birth weight, intensive care unit duration, and entry weight into the study. The treatment group (N = 15) received massages for three 15-minute periods 3 consecutive hours for a 10-day period. Findings suggested that the massaged infants (1) averaged 28% greater weight gain per day (33 vs 26 g) although the groups did not differ in intake (calories or volume), (2) showed significantly fewer postnatal complications and stress behaviors than did control infants, and (3) demonstrated more mature motor behaviors on the Brazelton examination at the end of the 10-day study period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-322
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1993


  • cocaine
  • intervention
  • massage
  • preterm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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