Temperament at 9 months of very preterm infants born at less than 29 weeks' gestation: the Epipage study

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2005 Feb;26(1):48-55.


The objective was to determine whether the temperament of very preterm singleton infants born before 29 weeks' gestation differs from their full-term counterparts at 9 months and to examine the influence of neurological sequelae on temperament in very preterm infants. The parents of very preterm infants from nine French regions and a group of full-term infants were sent the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire when the infants were 9 months old. The analysis included 266 singleton very preterm infants from the same regions born before 29 weeks' gestation and 546 full-term singleton infants. There were no significant differences for the Difficult, Unadaptable, and Unpredictable scales between very premature and term infants. Very preterm infants had a slightly higher Dull scale score than term infants. After taking into account mother's age, duration of hospitalization, and cerebral lesions found on neonatal ultrasound scans, this difference was no longer significant. Among very premature infants, those with cerebral lesions as diagnosed by neonatal ultrasound scan were rated higher on the Dull and Unadaptable scales. Delays in development at 9 months were also related to higher Dull and Unpredictable scales. These data suggest that prematurity does not affect temperament ratings at 9 months as assessed by the mother. However, very preterm infants with neurological insults, documented by the neonatal cerebral ultrasound or by a delay in development, are rated higher by their mothers on the Dull, Unadaptable, and Unpredictable scales.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Development
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / psychology
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Temperament*