Executive function outcome in preterm adolescents

Alice Claudia Burnett, Shannon Elizabeth Scratch, Peter John Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Preterm birth (PT) and low birthweight (LBW) are risk factors for cognitive, academic, and behavioral difficulties. Executive functioning, which is an umbrella term encompassing higher-order problem-solving and goal-oriented abilities, may help to understand these impairments. This review article examines executive functioning in PT and LBW children, with a specific focus on adolescence and the functional consequences of executive dysfunction in this age group. We have focused on adolescence as it is a critical period for brain, cognitive and social-emotional development, and a period of increased autonomy, independence and reliance on executive functioning. While more longitudinal research is required, there is evidence demonstrating that the PT/LBW population is at increased risk for impairments across all executive domains. Emerging evidence also suggests that executive dysfunction may partly explain poorer academic and social-emotional competence in PT/LBW adolescents. In conclusion, PT/LBW adolescents exhibit poorer executive functioning, and close surveillance is recommended for high-risk individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Academics
  • Adolescence
  • Behavior
  • Executive function
  • Low birth weight
  • Prematurity

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