All Preterm Children At Risk of Emotional and Behavioral Problems Upon School Entry Interview with:
Jorijn Hornman, BSc (MD PhD student)
Departments of Health Sciences
University Medical Center Groningen
University of Groningen, Netherlands What is the background for this study?

Response: Preterm children are at increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems compared to full-term children. Prevalences vary with degree of prematurity and assessment age. Unknown was whether stability of these problems upon school entry differs between preterm and full-term children. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that preterm children had higher rates than full-term children of persistent (7.2% versus 3.6%), emerging (4.3% versus 2.3%), and resolving (7.5% versus 3.6%) emotional and behavioral problems. Early preterm children –born at <32 weeks gestation- had the highest rates of persistent (8.2%) and emerging (5.2%) problems, and moderately preterm children –born at 32-35 weeks gestation- the highest rates of resolving problems (8.7%). What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: These findings may help to determine before school entry which preterm children are likely to have increased risks of emotional and behavioral problems when attending school. These children may require additional developmental surveillance.  Furthermore, this study shows the consequences of preterm birth in the longer term. The good news is that 90% of the moderately preterm children and 80% of the early preterm children are consistently without emotional and behavioral problems between age 4 and 5. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our main conclusion is that, compared to full-terms, all preterm children are at risk of persistent and changing emotional and behavioral problems upon school entry.

However, individual stability is hard to predict based solely on the factor of preterm-birth. It may therefore be useful to determine the influence of other factors on the stability of EB-problems in preterm and full-term children, including interventions provided to them upon school entry. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Pediatrics April 2016

Emotional and Behavioral Problems of Preterm and Full-Term Children at School Entry

Jorijn Hornman, Andrea F. de Winter, Jorien M. Kerstjens, Arend F. Bos,
Sijmen A. Reijneveld

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on April 29, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD