Individual Attention Patterns in Children Born Very Preterm and Full Term at 7 and 13 Years of Age

Lilly Bogičević, Leona Pascoe, Thi-Nhu-Ngoc Nguyen, Alice C Burnett, Marjolein Verhoeven, Deanne K Thompson, Jeanie L Y Cheong, Terrie E Inder, Anneloes L van Baar, Lex W Doyle, Peter J Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To identify attention profiles at 7 and 13 years, and transitions in attention profiles over time in children born very preterm (VP; <30 weeks' gestation) and full term (FT), and examine predictors of attention profiles and transitions. Methods: Participants were 167 VP and 60 FT children, evaluated on profiles across five attention domains (selective, shifting and divided attention, processing speed, and behavioral attention) at 7 and 13 years using latent profile analyses. Transitions in profiles were assessed with contingency tables. For VP children, biological and social risk factors were tested as predictors with a multinomial logistic regression. Results: At 7 and 13 years, three distinct profiles of attentional functioning were identified. VP children were 2-3 times more likely to show poorer attention profiles compared with FT children. Transition patterns between 7 and 13 years were stable average, stable low, improving, and declining attention. VP children were two times less likely to have a stable average attention pattern and three times more likely to have stable low or improving attention patterns compared with FT children. Groups did not differ in declining attention patterns. For VP children, brain abnormalities on neonatal MRI and greater social risk at 7 years predicted stable low or changing attention patterns over time. Conclusions: VP children show greater variability in attention profiles and transition patterns than FT children, with almost half of the VP children showing adverse attention patterns over time. Early brain pathology and social environment are markers for attentional functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-980
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number10
Early online date22 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021


  • Latent profile analysis
  • Longitudinal
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Prematurity
  • Risk factors
  • Trajectories


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