Masters Thesis

Developmental status of prematurely born preschoolers.

It was hypothesized that children of premature birth would not differ significantly in mental ability from children born fullterm, but the prematures would have a higher number of behavior problems and achieve developmental milestones at a later age. Twenty-four prematurely born children and twenty-three children born at fullterm were administered the McCarthy Scale of Children's Abilities, while their parents completed questionnaires concerning their children's personality, physical development, and medical history. Maternal pregnancy information and parental reactions and. feelings toward the premature birth and hospital practices were also collected in the study. The results found the prematurely born children to be within the normal range of development in mental ability although the fullterm born children evidenced significantly higher General Cognitive Index scores. Sex differences were noted with the girls in both groups attaining higher scores than the boys. There were no significant differences between the prematures and fullterm borns on the personality scale, but the prematures did learn to walk and achieve toilet training at a later date than the fullterm born children. The findings are discussed in terms of the methodology employed, the usefulness of the evaluation tools, and the value of parental involvement in the child's care during hospitalization.