Favorable parental perception of behaviour at two years' corrected age in very preterm-born children

Tess Bosch*, Sahar Salavati, Hendrik J ter Horst, Arend F Bos, Anne E den Heijer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Problems in behavioural and emotional outcome are amongst the long-term sequelae of preterm birth. The exact prevalence and associations with perinatal risk factors are unknown. Minimal research has been performed in pre-school aged children, compared to school age. The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of parent-reported behavioural and emotional problems at the age of two in children born at less than 30 weeks' gestational age and/or birth weight less than 1000 g. The secondary aim was to determine whether perinatal factors were associated with the behavioural and emotional outcome.

Perinatal characteristics of 144 preterm-born children from the NeoLiFeS cohort were collected retrospectively. Of these children, 101 parents filled out a Childs Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) at the corrected age of two. The results of the CBCL tests were presented as Z-scores, a Z-score of 0 indicating the mean of behavioural scores in the norm population. A Z-score higher than zero indicates less behavioural problems than average, a negative Z-score indicates more problems. Associations between perinatal risk factors and CBCL-scores were analysed using linear regression analyses.

Prevalences of clinically relevant CBCL scores were low, 4%, 2% and 5% for total score, internalizing score or externalizing score, respectively. Being part of a twin was associated with higher internalizing Z-scores, indicating less problems in emotional behaviour. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia was associated with lower Z-scores in total and externalizing behaviour. In conclusion, in our cohort generally very few problems in behavioural and emotional outcome were reported at the age of two.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105504
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Human Development
Early online date29-Oct-2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2021


  • Very preterm infants
  • Behavioural
  • emotional outcome
  • Perinatal risk factors

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