Self-regulation and cognitive development of very preterm infants : a dissertation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education in Child and Family Psychology
The aim of this study was to explore the impact of gestational age on early self-regulatory abilities and to examine the potential role of self-regulation in the cognitive development of very preterm infants at I year (corrected). Participants were a cohort of 70 very preterm children (born <34 weeks gestation) and a control group of 78 gender-matched, full-term children born over the same period. Self-regulation was assessed using the parent-rated Infant Toddler Symptom Checklist. The mental scale of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development - II was used as a measure of cognitive performance. Very preterm infants in this study displayed more difficulties with self-regulation than their term-born peers, with significant difficulties in attention regulation. Within the preterm group, decreasing gestational age was not associated with increasing self-regulatory difficulties. Results showed that, while biological factors were associated with deficits in attention regulation and environmental factors were associated with emotional functioning, decreasing maternal age was the most significant risk factor for deficits across multiple domains of self-regulation. Very preterm infants displayed poorer cognitive performance than their term-born peers. However, self-regulatory problems did not appear to mediate the relationship between birth status and cognitive performance at 1 year.