Academic achievement of adolescents born with extremely low birth weight
Article first published online: 23 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Author(s)/Acta Pædiatrica © 2012 Foundation Acta Pædiatrica
Volume 101, Issue 12, pages 1240–1245, December 2012
How to Cite
Litt, J. S., Gerry Taylor, H., Margevicius, S., Schluchter, M., Andreias, L. and Hack, M. (2012), Academic achievement of adolescents born with extremely low birth weight. Acta Paediatrica, 101: 1240–1245. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02790.x
- Issue published online: 8 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 23 AUG 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 19 JUL 2012 03:40PM EST
- Received 2 April 2012; revised 29 May 2012; accepted 16 July 2012.
- Academic achievement;
- Executive function;
- Extremely low birth weight infant;
Aim: To assess academic achievement, rates of learning disabilities (LD) and special education in extremely low birth weight (ELBW <1 kg) adolescents relative to normal birth weight (NBW) controls and to identify cognitive weaknesses.
Methods: Compared 181 ELBW adolescents born from 1992 to 1995 (mean age 14.8 years, mean BW 809 g, mean GA 26.4 weeks) and 115 NBW term controls. Measures included tests of IQ, reading and math achievement and executive function. Analyses included ANCOVA and logistic and linear regression. Covariates were sex, race and socioeconomic status.
Results: Extremely low birth weight adolescents had significantly lower scores on tests of IQ (87.1 vs. 96.4), achievement (88.6 vs. 95.5 reading; 81.3 vs. 93.2 math) and executive function than the NBW group (all p-values <0.001). ELBW also had higher rates of math LD, 51(50%) vs. 26 (28%), OR (95% CI) = 3.10 (1.65, 5.84), p < 0.001, and need for special education, 88 (49%) vs. 11(10%), OR (95% CI) = 11.78 (5.67, 24.47), p < 0.001. Measures of executive function were related to math independent of IQ.
Conclusions: Extremely low birth weight adolescents born in the 1990s have poorer achievement and higher rates of math LD than NBW peers. The findings suggest a need for more intensive interventions addressing the specific cognitive vulnerabilities in this population.