A comparison of sustained attention in very preterm and term infants
This study investigates sustained attention in preterm and full-term infants at 8 months after expectd date of delivery. Sustaind attention emerges in infancy and continues to develop throughout childhood. Sustained attention is believed to underlie some learning problems in children at school age. This study investigated sustained attention in preterm and full-term infants at 8 months after expected date of delivery. Thirty-seven preterm infants without identified disabilities, and 74 due date and gender matched healthy full-term infants, participated in the present study. The preterm infants were all less than 32 weeks gestation and less than 1,500 grams birthweight. All infants were therefore assessed on sustained attention tasks at 8 months after the expected date of delivery (when preterm infants were actually 10-11 months chronological age). The findings of the study showed that preterm infants performed significantly more poorly than full-term infants at both 8 months corrected age and 10-11 month chronological age on measures of sustained attention. Medical risk, lower birthweight and lower gestation age were found not affect the performance on sustained attention tasks. The findings of this study suggests that the deficits of sustained attention in preterm infants may be associated with birth prematurity per se, and that additional complications may not have any further detrimental effect.
International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health