Prematurity and developmental outcome during the first thirty months of life

Nicole Robinson, Pace University


Preterm birth is on the rise, and presently comprises approximately 12 percent of all births in the United States (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2007). Advances in prenatal and neonatal care over recent decades have led to enhanced survivability; however, with improved survival have come increased rates of neurodevelopmental problems. Recent research has indicated that both early and late preterm birth can have detrimental effects on early and later development (Engle, 2009). The purpose of the present study was to clarify the effects of all levels of prematurity on neurodevelopment during the first thirty months of life. One hundred ninety preterm infants born in a New York University Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and participating in the Neonatal Comprehensive Continuing Care Program were studied. Neonatal medical data and developmental data - including a neurological exam and findings from the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen, 1995) were examined over four points of measurement. It was hypothesized that preterm infants would perform poorer than a normative peer sample, and that early born infants would perform poorer than those born at later gestational ages. Additional prenatal and neonatal factors such as parental age, hospital of birth, and neonatal diagnosis were explored in order to determine their potential role in neurodevelopmental outcomes. This present sample did not demonstrate a significant difference from a sample of full term peers. In addition, there were no significant correlations found between gestational age and neurodevelopmental outcome. Several prenatal and neonatal factors were found to be significantly related to neurodevelopmental outcome, most notably, maternal age. The significance of these findings and their implications for preterm infants are discussed.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Robinson, Nicole, "Prematurity and developmental outcome during the first thirty months of life" (2009). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3370214.



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