Does an early intervention influence behavioral development until age 9 in children born prematurely?


This study examined whether the Mother-Infant Transaction Program prevents behavioral problems among preterm children (birth weight < 2000 g) until age 9. The program was administered to 72 preterms, while 74 preterms and 75 full-terms formed control groups (N = 221). Behavior was reported by parents (Child Behavior Checklist) and teachers (Teachers Report Form) and by all on selected Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) questions. Long-term behavioral development appeared to be qualitatively unaffected by the intervention. At ages 7 and 9, fewer attention problems and better adaptation to school were reported from parents and teachers of the intervention group compared to preterm controls. At age 9, teachers reported fewer difficulties in the intervention group and better academic performance. In these areas they were reported as being at the statistically same level as term controls.