Date of Award:

1989

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Glendon Casto

Abstract

Advances in medical technology have provided the mechanisms for sustaining life in premature and low-birthweight infants, resulting in the survival of more of these infants. Low-birthweight (LBW) and preterm infants are placed at risk by a number of medical complications, including intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).

The outcome of low-birthweight infants with intraventricular hemorrhage has been the subject of a great deal of research and continues to be a much-discussed topic in the medical and psychological communities. As more data become available, it appears that more questions arise concerning the later neuodevelopmental and neuropsychological outcome of these infants.

For this reason, research concerning the later status of infants born with intraventricular hemorrhage is needed. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are differences in cognitive and motor functioning among infants with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), infants who were low birthweight (LBW), and normal-birthweight (NBW) infants.

Forty-four subjects (10 with mild IVH, 9 with severe IVH, 12 LBW, and 13 NBW), who were born between January 1, 1984, and June 1, 1985, and were either patients in the neonatal intensive care unit at University of Utah Medical Center (the IVH and LBW infants) or were residents of the well-baby nursery (the NBW infants) at University of Utah Medical Center, served as the sample population. The subjects were tested at 3 to 4.5 years of age using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (Fourth Edition) and the motor section of the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. In addition, infant medical data were obtained from medical records, and demographic data were collected including mother's age at time of birth, family income, mother's and father's education level, and birth order of the infant.

The MIVH, SIVH, and LBW groups had significantly lower gestational ages and birthweights and significantly more medical complications than did the NBW group. The MIVH and SIVH groups also had significantly lower birthweight and gestational ages than did the LBW group, but approximately equivalent numbers of medical complications.

Significant group differences were found only between the MIVH and NBW groups on the McCarthy motor score, with the MIVH group appearing to outperform the NBW group following statistical manipulation with analysis of covariance. No other significant group differences were found. Further research with a larger sample is recommended in order to more fully understand the later outcome following LBW and IVH.

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