Executive function of children born preterm

Brenda M Wall, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to utilize executive function (EF) as an organizing construct in investigating the cognitive processes and deficits in a high-risk group of children born preterm, and to relate formal EF tasks to problems with behavioral regulation. It was hypothesized that there would be significant differences in EF between the preterm group and a fullterm control group, with the preterm group performing more poorly, and that the expected differences would remain after controlling for IQ and SES. It was also hypothesized that targeted child behavior ratings variables would be significantly related to the EF variables. Forty-one preterm and 43 fullterm children (5-7 years) were assessed on a battery of EF tasks (i.e., Visual Search, Verbal Fluency, and Tower of Hanoi), measures of IQ (i.e., WISC-R or WPPSI) and SES (i.e., Hollingshead Four-Factor Index of Socieoeconomic Status), and parents filled out the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Conners' Parent Questionnaire (CPQ). The lower performance on EF for the preterm group was associated with the lower IQ scores. Significant relationships were obtained between two of the EF variables of and two of the four targeted child behavior variables. Tower of Hanoi Efficiency was significantly correlated with CPQ Impulsivity and Hyperactivity Index. Verbal Fluency Perseveration was also significantly correlated with CPQ Impulsivity and Hyperactivity Index. Verbal Fluency Efficiency was significantly related to the CPQ Hyperactivity Index prior to partialling out IQ and SES, but not after. No significant relationships were obtained between the EF variables and the CBCL.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Wall, Brenda M, "Executive function of children born preterm" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9628354.