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Premature Children At Risk for Behavioral Disorders

childNew research suggests children born prematurely are four times more likely to have emotional problems or behavioral disorders.

A interdisciplinary team from the University of Warwick examined the behavior of 200 six-year-old children who had been born below 26 weeks gestation, known as ‘extremely pre-term’.

The researchers attempted to contact the family of every child born in the UK and Ireland at 25 weeks or earlier, between March and December 1995. From a possible 308 children who survived the first 6 years, the parents of 241 responded to the study.

The team compared the behaviour of these extremely pre-term children with a control group of a similar age. They used reports filed by parents and teachers to test whether extremely pre-term children had more pervasive behaviour problems (described by both teachers and parents).

The researchers found 30.6% of pre-term children were hyperactive, compared to 8.8% in the full-term group, and 33.3% of pre-term children displayed attention problems, compared to 6.8%.

They highlighted a distinction between genders in the pre-term group. Boys born prematurely showed a higher degree of behaviour problems, such as ADHD, and girls experienced more internalising disorders such as anxiety and depression.

The study also showed that extremely pre-term boys were more vulnerable to behavioural problems, and they had a greater impact on parents and teachers than extremely pre-term girls.

Professor of Developmental Psychology at Warwick Medical School, Dr Dieter Wolke said: “In this cohort of pre-term children we found a considerable excess of behaviour difficulties, including problems in a range of domains such as emotion, hyperactivity, attention and peer relationship problems. Parents and teachers agreed these behaviour problems had a considerable impact on home and school life for 23% of the pre-term group.”

Source: University of Warick

Premature Children At Risk for Behavioral Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Premature Children At Risk for Behavioral Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/09/09/premature-children-at-risk-for-behavioral-disorders/2899.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.