Executive function development in adolescents born very and extremely preterm
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Executive function deficits are often reported as being a specific weakness in preterm born children. Yet, stability in function and development over time is largely unknown. In a prospective longitudinal study, 115 participants born very or extremely preterm, ≤ 31 weeks of gestation, participated in neuropsychological assessments at ages 5½ years and 18 years. Executive functions were separated into working memory and cognitive flexibility. Gestational age at birth, intrauterine growth, sex, perinatal medical complications, and parental education were tested as predictors, and developmental stability was investigated using Structural Equation Modeling. Working memory and cognitive flexibility were highly stable from preschool age to late adolescence. Higher parental education, higher gestational age, and female sex were related to better outcome at 5½ years which in turn fully mediated outcome at age 18 years. Perinatal medical complications and restricted intrauterine growth negatively influenced cognitive flexibility in late adolescence. The study poses an argument for identification of executive deficits before school entry among children born preterm, as such deficits are unlikely to diminish as a consequence of maturation.
cognitive flexibility, parental education, perinatal medical complications, structural equation modeling, working memory
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106801OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-106801DiVA: diva2:739337