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Frontal Electroencephalogram Asymmetry, Salivary Cortisol, and Internalizing Behavior Problems in Young Adults Who Were Born at Extremely Low Birth Weight


  • This research was supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) awarded to Louis Schmidt; a predoctoral fellowship from NSERC awarded to Vladimir Miskovic under the direction of Louis Schmidt; and grants from Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR; Grant MOP42536) and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; Grant RO1HD40219) awarded to Saroj Saigal and her colleagues. We wish to thank the participants for their continued cooperation; Lindsay Bennett, Sylvia Nowakowski, Caroline Parkin, and Diane Santesso for their help with data collection; Lorraine Hoult and Barbara Stoskopf for arranging the assessments; and Alison Niccols for helpful comments on earlier drafts.

concerning this article should be addressed to Louis A. Schmidt, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. Electronic mail may be sent to


The authors examined internalizing behavior problems at middle childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood and brain-based measures of stress vulnerability in 154 right-handed, nonimpaired young adults (M age = 23 years): 71 (30 males, 41 females) born at extremely low birth weight (ELBW; < 1,000 g) and 83 (35 males, 48 females) controls born at normal birth weight (NBW). Internalizing behavior problems increased from adolescence to young adulthood among ELBW individuals. ELBW adults exhibited greater relative right frontal electroencephalogram activity at rest and more concurrent internalizing behavior problems than NBW controls. Being born at ELBW may have subtle influences on brain–behavior relations even in survivors without major impairments and evidence of these influences may not emerge until young adulthood.