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Date of Award
Children who are born prematurely are at risk of experiencing neuropsychological deficits early in life; however, it is unclear which preterm children are at greatest risk. The current investigation attempted to gain better understanding regarding the influence of antenatal risk factors, particularly histological chorioamnionitis and maternal hypertension, on neuropsychological development among a cohort of preschool-aged children born prior to 34 weeks gestation (N = 166). Additionally, relationships between the severity of these complications and neuropsychological outcomes were examined. Contrary to my predictions, histological chorioamnionitis and maternal hypertension were not associated with neuropsychological development. However, increasing severity of histological chorioamnionitis and maternal hypertension were both associated with poorer executive outcomes. Additionally, cumulative antenatal risk, operationalized as the sum of equally weighted antenatal risk factors, was associated with cognitive, language, and executive outcomes. These findings are consistent with the notion of a continuum of neurodevelopmental causality. Although maternal hypertension and histological chorioamnionitis failed to account for significant variance in neuropsychological outcomes, increasing coincidence of antenatal adversities was associated with greater deviations from typical development at preschool age.
Heitzer, Andrew, "Antenatal Risk And Neuropsychological Outcome Among Preterm Born Preschoolers" (2018). Wayne State University Dissertations. 2029.