The objective was to determine whether the temperament of very preterm singleton infants born before 29 weeks' gestation differs from their full-term counterparts at 9 months and to examine the influence of neurological sequelae on temperament in very preterm infants. The parents of very preterm infants from nine French regions and a group of full-term infants were sent the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire when the infants were 9 months old. The analysis included 266 singleton very preterm infants from the same regions born before 29 weeks' gestation and 546 full-term singleton infants. There were no significant differences for the Difficult, Unadaptable, and Unpredictable scales between very premature and term infants. Very preterm infants had a slightly higher Dull scale score than term infants. After taking into account mother's age, duration of hospitalization, and cerebral lesions found on neonatal ultrasound scans, this difference was no longer significant. Among very premature infants, those with cerebral lesions as diagnosed by neonatal ultrasound scan were rated higher on the Dull and Unadaptable scales. Delays in development at 9 months were also related to higher Dull and Unpredictable scales. These data suggest that prematurity does not affect temperament ratings at 9 months as assessed by the mother. However, very preterm infants with neurological insults, documented by the neonatal cerebral ultrasound or by a delay in development, are rated higher by their mothers on the Dull, Unadaptable, and Unpredictable scales.
1Inserm U149, Villejuif, France
2Neuropediatric Unit, Nantes Hospital, Nantes, France
3Psychopathology of Child and Adolescent Unit, Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, Paris, France
4Neonatal Unit, St. Jacques Hospital, Besançon, France
*The Epipage Study Group, INSERM U149: B. Larroque (National Coordinator), P. Y. Ancel, B. Blondel, G. Bréart, M. Dehan, M. Garel, M. Kaminski, F. Maillard, C. du Mazaubrun, P. Missy, F. Sehili, K. Supernant. Alsace: M. Durand, J. Matis, J. Messer, A. Treisser (Hôpital de Hautepierre, Strasbourg). Franche-Comté: A. Burguet, L. Abraham-Lerat, A. Menget, P. Roth, J.-P. Schaal, G. Thiriez (CHU St. Jacques, Besançon). Haute-Normandie: C. Lévêque, S. Marret, L. Marpeau (Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Rouen). Languedoc-Roussillon: P. Boulot, J.-C. Picaud (Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier), A.-M. Donadio, B. Ledésert (ORS Montpellier). Lorraine: M. André, J.-L. Boutroy, J. Fresson, P. Vert (Maternité Régionale, Nancy). Midi-Pyrénées: C. Arnaud, S. Bourdet-Loubère, H. Grandjean (INSERM U558, Toulouse), M. Rolland (Hôpital des Enfants, Toulouse). Nord-Pas-de-Calais: C. Leignel, P. Lequien, V. Pierrat, F. Puech, D. Subtil, P. Truffert (Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre, Lille). Pays-de-Loire: G. Boog, V. Rouger-Bureau, J.-C. Rozé (Hôpital Mère-Enfant, Nantes). Paris-Petite-Couronne: P.-Y. Ancel, G. Bréart, M. Kaminski, C. du Mazaubrun (INSERM U149, Paris), M. Dehan, V. Zupan (Hôpital Antoine Béclère, Clamart), M. Vodovar, M. Voyer (Institut de Puériculture, Paris).
Received November 2003; accepted October 2004.
Address for reprints: Béatrice Larroque, M.D., Ph.D., INSERM U149, 16 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier, 94807 Villejuif Cedex, France; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.