The development of effortful control in children born preterm

Julie Poehlmann, A. J.Miller Schwichtenberg, Prachi E. Shah, Rebecca J. Shlafer, Emily Hahn, Sarah Maleck

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35 Scopus citations


This prospective longitudinal study examined emerging effortful control skills at 24-and 36-months postterm in 172 children born preterm (<36 weeks gestation). Infant (neonatal health risks), family (sociodemographic risks), and maternal risk factors (depressive symptoms, anger expressions during play interactions) were assessed at six time points across 3 years. In addition, children's emerging effortful control skills, cognitive development, and mother-reported behavior and attention problems were assessed at 24 and 36 months. Analyses documented links between effortful control skills, cognitive skills, and concurrent attention problems in children born preterm. The study also found that preterm children's effortful control skills improved over time. In addition, neonatal health risks, family sociodemographic risks, and angry parenting interactions were associated with less optimal effortful control skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-536
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HD44163 and HD07489) and the University of Wisconsin. Special thanks to the children and families who generously gave of their time to participate in this study and the numerous students who assisted with data collection and coding.


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