Parent and teacher reporting of executive function and behavioral difficulties in preterm and term children at kindergarten

Sari O'Meagher, Kimberley Norris, Nenagh Kemp, Peter Anderson

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the study was to compare parent and teacher ratings of executive function and behavioral difficulties of kindergarten-age preterm and term children. Parents of 82 and kindergarten teachers of 105 preterm (<33 weeks’ gestation) children and parents of 49 and kindergarten teachers of 46 term four- to five-year-old children completed executive function (EF) and behavior questionnaires. The preterm children were rated to have more EF difficulties than the term children by parents and teachers. On the behavior scales, the preterm children were reported as having more attention control difficulties than the term group, but no other behavioral problems. The parents reported higher levels of EF and behavioral difficulties than the teachers when both child groups were combined. The overall interrater reliability between parents and teachers in terms of children being in the clinical vs. non-clinical range for EF and behavioral problems was low for the preterm and term groups. Conclusion: Based on this study, some young preterm children need EF supports when commencing kindergarten, and preterm children should be screened for EF difficulties. Noncongruent parent and teacher reporting nevertheless make it challenging to identify the preterm children most at need of such supports. Further studies are needed to determine the factors impacting on reporting patterns, and also the best combination of EF and behavior assessment tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Child
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • Behavior
  • children
  • executive functions
  • parent
  • preterm
  • questionnaires
  • teacher

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