Cognitive development of preterm low birth weight children at 5 to 8 years old

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1993 Aug;14(4):242-9.


Prematurity and low birth weight have been considered to be important risk factors for cognitive development during early childhood; however, it has been suggested that the developmental delays disappear with age. Eighty-one preterm (< 38 weeks) low birth weight (< 2500 g) children between 5 and 8 years old from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth were compared with individually matched full-term normal birth weight children to investigate the catch-up delays in cognitive functioning including language and mathematics skills. Preterm children showed a significant delay in cognitive functioning only until 6 years old. Regression analyses showed that environmental factors accounted for more variation in cognitive development than did perinatal factors. In support of a transactional model, preterm children exhibited a self-righting tendency during their early childhood so that eventually environmental influences overshadowed biological influences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / psychology*
  • Intelligence Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Language Development
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors