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Pervasive behavioural problems are common in children born at less than 26 weeks of gestation

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Does being born at less than 26 weeks of gestation (extremely preterm) increase pervasive behavioural problems at 6 years of age?


All children born ⩽25 weeks of gestation in UK and Ireland between March and December 1995. 241 of 308 eligible children responded; of these 200 had complete reports from teachers and parents. They were compared with reports for 148 age matched control children.


UK and Ireland; children born between March and December 1995.


Behavioural problems, including emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and prosocial behaviours, were assessed at age 6 years by teacher and parent completed Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ). Clinical pervasive behaviour was defined as behaviour in the clinical range reported by both the parent and teacher. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children unless the child had disability or cognitive impairment, in which case the Griffiths Scale of Mental Development or …

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  • Source of funding: BLISS, Health Foundation and Well-Being of Women, UK.


  • Competing interests: None.