A randomized controlled trial of a home-visiting intervention on cognition and behavior in term low birth weight infants

J Pediatr. 2003 Nov;143(5):634-9. doi: 10.1067/S0022-3476(03)00455-4.


Objectives: To determine whether early psychosocial intervention with low birth weight term (LBW-T) infants improved cognition and behavior and to compare LBW-T with normal birth weight (NBW) infants.

Study design: A randomized controlled trial was carried out in Kingston, Jamaica, with 140 LBW-T infants (weight<2500 g). The intervention comprised weekly home visits by paraprofessionals for the first 8 weeks of life aimed at improving maternal-child interaction. LBW-T and 94 matched NBW (weight 2500 to 4000 g) infants were recruited from the main maternity hospital. Main outcome measures were problem solving (2 means-end tests: cover and support) and 4 behavior ratings at 7 months. Analyses used were the t test for intervention effects and multiple regression to compare LBW and NBW infants.

Results: LBW-T intervened infants had higher scores than LBW-T control infants on the cover test (P<.05) and were more cooperative (P<.01) and happy (P<.05). LBW-T control infants had poorer scores on both the cover (P<.001) and support tests (P<.01), vocalized less (P<.02), and were less cooperative (P<.001), happy (P<.02), and active (P<.02) than NBW infants. LBW-T intervened infants had lower scores than NBW infants only on the support test (P<.05).

Conclusions: Early low-cost intervention can improve cognition and behavior of LBW-T infants in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Home Care Services*
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Problem Solving
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Socioeconomic Factors