Life after Prematurity Special Health Care Needs, Working Memory, and Health-related Quality of Life Among 9- to 11-year-old Children Born Prematurely

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Description: Premature birth, defined as birth before the completion of 37 weeks of gestation, places children at risk for medical, physical, psychosocial and neurodevelopmental impairments. These impairments may vary in severity. Beyond infancy, children born prematurely are typically not studied as a group, but rather fall within many other diagnostic labels and categories. Non-categorical research, using consequence-based measures, is a means of capturing the effect of prematurity. In this study three major areas of functioning were assessed in 9- to 11-year-old children born prematurely and a group of full-term controls: special health care needs, working memory capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Working memory is described as a pure measure of children's ability to learn, as it is the capacity to hold and process information. Health-related quality of life is a state that encompasses children's perception of and adaptation to their world, includes the children's physical, social, emotional and school environments, and acknowledges its variable effect on childhood. The Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Screener, the Automated Working Memory Assessment Screener and the PedsQL Generic Core Scales were used. These measures have not been used previously in combination to evaluate children born prematurely. A total of 96 children and their parents participated in this research. The premature and term groups did not differ significantly on the variables of special health care needs, working memory capacity, and health-related quality of life. Statistically significant differences were found between child and parent rating of HRQOL in the premature group. A 51% incidence of special health care needs was found in the sample of premature children, compared to 37% in the sample of term children. The findings from this research will add to the current body of literature and provide information for health care providers, school systems, educators and health policy makers.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work