Poster Title

Temperament and Attentional Processes in Children Born Prematurely

Institution

University of Louisville

Abstract

Many children born prematurely have problems in school including being held back a grade level or being involved in special services. The purpose of the current study was to examine an aspect of temperament, effortful control, to examine the impact temperament had on the self-regulation of attention and parent-child interactions. A sample of 15 children born prematurely and weighing less than 1000 grams at birth were tested around the age of 4 ½ years. Children completed a puzzle-copying task with their mothers and a week later, the children were given a similar puzzle to complete on their own. The children were also given the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) and the mothers assessed their child’s temperament by completing the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). Attention was assessed by the number of times the child’s gazes were self-regulated or other-regulated (by the mother). Premature children who had higher maternal ratings of effortful control appeared to have more self-regulation in the puzzle task with their mother. Premature children, who were unable to complete the puzzle task correctly while alone, received more attention regulation from their mothers during the puzzle-copying task in session 1. Temperament, more specifically, effortful control, appeared to impact the child’s ability to self-regulate their attention. Parents also appeared to play an important role in the development of attention regulation in their children born prematurely.

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Temperament and Attentional Processes in Children Born Prematurely

Many children born prematurely have problems in school including being held back a grade level or being involved in special services. The purpose of the current study was to examine an aspect of temperament, effortful control, to examine the impact temperament had on the self-regulation of attention and parent-child interactions. A sample of 15 children born prematurely and weighing less than 1000 grams at birth were tested around the age of 4 ½ years. Children completed a puzzle-copying task with their mothers and a week later, the children were given a similar puzzle to complete on their own. The children were also given the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) and the mothers assessed their child’s temperament by completing the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). Attention was assessed by the number of times the child’s gazes were self-regulated or other-regulated (by the mother). Premature children who had higher maternal ratings of effortful control appeared to have more self-regulation in the puzzle task with their mother. Premature children, who were unable to complete the puzzle task correctly while alone, received more attention regulation from their mothers during the puzzle-copying task in session 1. Temperament, more specifically, effortful control, appeared to impact the child’s ability to self-regulate their attention. Parents also appeared to play an important role in the development of attention regulation in their children born prematurely.