The aim of this study was to compare cognition, academic progress, behavior, and self-concept children of very low birth weight (VLBW, birth weight < 1501 g) born in the period 1980 to 1982 with randomly selected children of normal birth weight (NBW, birth weight > 2499 g). At 14 years of age, 130 (84.4%) of 154 VLBW and 42 (70.0%) of 60 NBW children were assessed. Ten VLBW children and one NBW child who had cerebral palsy were excluded. VLBW children scored at a significantly lower level on all three composite scales of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 3rd Edition. VLBW children were also significantly disadvantaged on more specific cognitive processes, including tests of visual processing and visual memory and on subtests reflecting learning and problem solving. Only in arithmetic was a difference between the groups discerned on tests of achievement. Significantly more VLBW children were rated by teachers as socially rejected and by their parents as having learning problems at school. VLBW children had significantly reduced self-esteem. VLBW children had more cognitive, academic, and behavioral problems and lower self-esteem at 14 years of age than NBW control subjects.
Division of Newborn Services, the Royal Women's Hospital, Carlton (RICKARDS, KELLY)
Division of Newborn Services, the Royal Women's Hospital, Carlton, and the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Paediatrics, the University of Melbourne, Parkville (DOYLE)
Division of Newborn Services, the Royal Women's Hospital, Carlton, Victoria, Australia (CALLANAN)
Address for correspondence: Associate Professor L. W. Doyle, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The Royal Women's Hospital 132 Grattan St., Carlton, Victoria, 3053, Australia; fax: 61 3 9347 1761; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (No reprints will be available.)