Patterns of everyday functioning in preschool children born preterm and at term.


Background/Aim: Children born preterm are at risk of neonatal complications but the long-term consequences for everyday functioning is not well known. The study aimed to identify patterns of everyday functioning in preschool children born preterm and at term in relation to perinatal data, neonatal risk factors, behaviour, and socioeconomic status. Registry data and data from parent rated questionnaires were collected for 331 children. Method: A person-oriented approach with a cluster analysis was used. Results: A seven cluster solution explained 65.91% of the variance. Most children (n = 232) showed patterns of strong everyday functioning. A minority of the children (n = 99), showed diverse patterns of weak everyday functioning. Perinatal characteristics, neonatal risk factors and socio-economics did not predict cluster group membership. Children born preterm were represented in all clusters. Conclusion, implications: Most preschool children are perceived by their parents with strong everyday functioning despite being born preterm. However small groups of children are, for various reasons, perceived with weak functioning, but preterm birth is not the sole contributor to patterns of weak everyday functioning. More critical for all children’s everyday functioning is probably the interaction between individual factors, behavioural factors and contextual factors. To gain a broader understanding of children’s everyday functioning. Child Health Services need to systematically consider aspects of body function, activity and in addition participation and environmental aspects.