Behavior Disorders in Extremely Preterm/Extremely Low Birth Weight Children in Kindergarten

Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 04/23/2012

Scott MN et al. – The findings document increased rates of disorders in attention, behavior self–regulation, and socialization in extremely preterm/extremely low birth weight (EPT/ELBW) children and suggest that deficits on tests of executive function are associated with some of these disorders. Early identification and intervention for these disorders are needed to promote early adjustment to school and facilitate learning progress.


  • The authors compared 148 EPT/ELBW children with 111 term-born normal birth weight classmate controls on reports of psychiatric symptoms obtained from parent interview, parent and teacher ratings of behavior, and teacher ratings of social functioning (School Social Behavior Scales, second edition).
  • Associations of behavior disorders with global cognitive ability and tests of executive function were also examined within the EPT/ELBW group.


  • Rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder combined on psychiatric interview were about twice as high for the EPT/ELBW group than for the normal birth weight group, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 2.50 (1.34, 4.68), p = .004.
  • The EPT/ELBW group also had much higher rates of teacher-identified disorders in attention, behavior self-regulation, and social functioning, with odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) ranging from 3.35 (1.64, 6.83) to 18.03 (4.12, 78.94), all p values <.01.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and impaired behavior self-regulation were associated with deficits on tests of executive function but not with global cognitive impairment.

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