University Of Tasmania
O'Meagher_et_al-2017-Acta_Paediatrica.pdf (507.6 kB)
Download file

Risk factors for executive function difficulties in preschool and early school-age preterm children

Download (507.6 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 05:13 authored by Sari O'Meagher, Nenagh KempNenagh Kemp, Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris, Anderson, P, Skilbeck, C

Aim: To investigate the relationship between executive functioning and social and perinatal risk factors in four- to five-year-old preterm children.

Methods: 141 children born preterm (< 33 weeks of gestation) and 77 term comparison children were assessed using standardized measures of general intelligence and performance-based executive function tests prior to starting kindergarten. Parental and teacher reports of executive functioning were completed when the children commenced kindergarten. The preterm and the term comparison groups were compared on measures of intelligence and executive functions using independent groups t-tests, and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify factors predictive of intelligence and executive functioning in the preterm group.

Results: The preterm group performed significantly more poorly than the comparison group on all intelligence and executive function tests. The parental reports of the preterm and term comparison children's executive function did not differ significantly, but the teachers reported elevated executive function difficulties for the preterm group. Higher social risk, in particular lower educational level of the main caregiver, was the strongest predictor for the preterm children's intelligence and executive function results.

Conclusion: Social risk factors are strongly associated with impaired early executive function outcomes in preterm children.


Publication title

Acta Paediatrica










School of Psychological Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: O'Meagher, S., Kemp, N., Norris, K., Anderson, P. and Skilbeck, C. (2017), Risk factors for executive function difficulties in preschool and early school-age preterm children. Acta Paediatr, 106: 1468–1473. doi:10.1111/apa.13915, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/apa.13915. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Neonatal and child health

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania