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Child Neuropsychol. 2019 Oct 3:1-12. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2019.1674267. [Epub ahead of print]

Predictive value of psychological assessment at five years of age in the long-term follow-up of very preterm children.

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Department of Psychology, University of Turku , Turku , Finland.
Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), University of Turku , Turku , Finland.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital , Turku , Finland.
Children's Hospital, Pediatric Research Center, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital , Helsinki , Finland.


The aims of this study were to 1) assess the predictive value of psychological assessment at five years of age on the need for educational support in very preterm children, and 2) report the neuropsychological profile of very preterm children at eleven years of age and risk factors for poorer neuropsychological functions. A cohort of 167 very preterm children was included (birth weight ≤ 1500 g and/or gestational age < 32 weeks). At five years of age, intellectual functioning was assessed with Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised and neuropsychological performance with NEPSY II. At eleven years of age, neuropsychological functions were assessed using NEPSY II and data on educational support services collected using a questionnaire. Lower full-scale intelligence quotient and poorer performance in subtests inhibition, comprehension of instructions, memory for designs, visuomotor precision and design copying at five years of age were associated with a need for educational support. Neuropsychological performance at eleven years of age was overall within the average range but below the mean, with the poorest performance in tasks assessing visual memory and visuospatial functions. The results offer a novel perspective to timing and measures of follow-up of very preterm children, since they show that need for long-term educational support can be identified at five years of age. The findings also highlight the clinical value of psychological assessments including evaluation of both intellectual functioning and neuropsychological performance, covering detailed information about non-verbal functions, in the follow-up of very preterm children up to eleven years of age.


Very preterm; developmental trajectory; follow-up

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