Seven-Year Outcome of the Vermont Intervention Program for Low-Birth Weight Infants

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Children, Infants, Socioeconomic status, Child development, Test scores, Birth weight, Age, Mothers, Low birth weight, Cognitive development

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We compared 24 low-birthweight subjects of an experimental intervention (LBWE), 32 no-treatment controls (LBWC), and 37 normal birthweight (NBW) subjects. The intervention involved 7 hospital sessions and 4 home sessions in which a nurse helped mothers adapt to their LBW babies. At age 7, LBWE scored significantly higher than LBWC on the Kaufman Mental Processing Composite (p < .001), Sequential (p = .02), and Simultaneous (p = .001) Scales, after statistical adjustments for socioeconomic status. LBWE did not differ from NBW (F < 1). These results bear out a divergence between the LBWE and LBWC that first became statistically significant at age 3. The findings suggest that the intervention prevented cognitive lags among LBW children, and that long-term follow-ups are needed to evaluate the developmental effects of efforts to overcome major biological and environmental risks.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Child Development, v. 61, issue 6, p. 1672-1681