Social-emotional difficulties in very preterm and term 2 year olds predict specific social-emotional problems at the age of 5 years

Karli Treyvaud, Lex W. Doyle, Katherine J. Lee, Gehan Roberts, Jeremy Lim, Terrie E. Inder, Peter J. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


BackgroundVery preterm children have increased risk for social-emotional problems. This study examined relationships between early social-emotional difficulties and later social-emotional problems, and whether this differed by group (very preterm or term).MethodsParticipants were 189 children born less than 30 weeks gestation or less than 1,250g at birth and 78 term-born children. Parent-report questionnaires were used to assess social-emotional development at 2 (Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment) and 5 years of age (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Social risk and children's cognitive development were collected at the age of 5 years.ResultsEmotional symptoms at the age of 5 years were predicted by internalizing problems at the age of 2 years, conduct problems and hyperactivity/inattention at the age of 5 years were predicted by externalizing problems at the age of 2 years, and peer relationship problems and prosocial behaviors at the age of 5 years were predicted by social-emotional competence at the age of 2 years. Relationships were not moderated by group.ConclusionsImplications for early detection of social-emotional problems and provision of targeted interventions are discussed. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • longitudinal
  • preterm
  • social-emotional problem

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