Cognitive and behavioural outcomes following very preterm birth

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2007 Oct;12(5):363-73. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2007.05.004. Epub 2007 Jul 10.


This paper provides a review of the cognitive and behavioural outcomes of very preterm children in middle childhood. Case-controlled studies have shown that very preterm children have intelligence quotient (IQ) scores significantly lower than term peers, even for those who are free of severe disability. Authors have noted a gestational age-related gradient in IQ for those born before 33 weeks and studies have revealed particular problems in non-verbal reasoning and simultaneous information processing. Very preterm children are also at risk for behavioural problems. There is little consensus regarding the presence of internalising or externalising behaviours, but most studies show an increased risk of attentional and social problems. Studies have also shown a greater prevalence of psychiatric disorders and, specifically, an increased risk for ADHD. Methodological issues are discussed and suggestions are made for improving the reporting of outcomes to facilitate cross-study comparisons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / psychology*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Intelligence*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Time