Aspects of Inattention in Low Birth Weight Children

Pediatr Neurol. 2004 Feb;30(2):92-8. doi: 10.1016/S0887-8994(03)00402-8.


The objective of this study was to explore the nature of impaired attention in low birth weight children. A population-based sample (n = 129) of 11-year-old low birth weight children was compared with a randomized group of normal birth weight children (n = 128). Continuous Performance Test, a Cue-Target Task, and a Stroop Color-Word test were used to assess the following dimensions of attentional function: inattention, impulsivity, vigilance, selected attention, and alternating attention. The attention subscale from the Child Behavior Check List questionnaire was included to assess maternal report of inattention. Low birth weight children had generally slower reaction time than normal birth weight children and manifested impaired vigilance, but this could be attributed to group differences in confounding parental factors. Impairment was not a function of birth weight within the low birth weight group, but low birth weight boys manifested impaired vigilance compared with normal birth weight boys. Every fourth low birth weight child was reported with inattention, but small differences were found between the inattentive and attentive low birth weight children. No specific attentional dysfunction was observed in the low birth weight study group. The nature of reported impaired attention among low birth weight children is still uncertain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention* / physiology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / physiology
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychomotor Performance* / physiology