Objective: We examined the association of fetal and newborn complications, socioeconomic status, and home environment with learning deficits as assessed between 9 and 11 years of age.
Study design: A total of 218 high-risk newborns have been assessed at 1, 4, and 9 to 11 years of age. Fetal and newborn complications included 77 newborns with growth retardation. Socioeconomic variables included parental occupation and education. Outcome measures at 9 to 11 years included the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test and the Wide Range Achievement Test. Motor and cognitive development was assessed by a neurologic examination, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Behavior was assessed with the Achenbach Child Behavior Check List and Connor's Teacher Rating Scale.
Results: Learning deficits were identified in 77 of the 218 children (35%). Children with learning deficits had lower full-scale IQ scores and behavioral problems of inattention and anxiety. Both fetal growth retardation and the father's occupation score were independently associated with these learning deficits.
Conclusion: Fetal growth retardation, socioeconomic status, and behavioral characteristics of inattention and anxiety are associated with less favourable academic achievement at 9 to 11 years of age.