Behavioral problems are associated with cognitive and language scores in toddlers born extremely preterm.

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship of parent-reported child behaviors on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) to cognition, language, and motor skills on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development - III (Bayley-III) in toddlers born extremely preterm.

STUDY DESIGN: Toddlers born extremely preterm (gestational ages 22 0/7 to 26 6/7 weeks) were tested at 22-26 months corrected age with Bayley-III while parents completed the CBCL. Socio-demographic variables and medical history were recorded. Linear regression models were used to assess the relationship of Bayley-III cognitive, motor, and language scores with CBCL scores, adjusting for medical and socio-demographic factors.

RESULTS: Internalizing, affective, and pervasive development problem behavior scores on the CBCL correlated significantly with lower Bayley-III cognitive, language, and motor scores on unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Although externalizing and anxiety problems were significantly associated with cognitive and language scores on unadjusted analysis, the relationships were not significant after adjusting for socio-economic factors. CBCL scores were similar for boys and girls, with the exception of the pervasive developmental problem scale; boys had significantly more problems than girls (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that parent reported behavior problems were related to lower cognitive, language, and motor development in toddlers born extremely preterm. Early findings of behavioral problems in toddlers born extremely premature may help identify children at greater risk for later learning difficulties. Adding a measure of behavior to the evaluation of these children may help better understand factors that can contribute to delays, especially in cognition and language.

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Early human development





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