Cognitive and behavioral aspects of executive functions in children born very preterm

Ritter, Barbara Catherine; Perrig, Walter J.; Steinlin, Maja; Everts, Regula (2013). Cognitive and behavioral aspects of executive functions in children born very preterm. Child neuropsychology, 20(2), pp. 129-144. Philadelphia, Pa.: Taylor & Francis 10.1080/09297049.2013.773968

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This study investigated whether children aged between 8 and 12 years born very preterm (VPT) and/or at very low birth weight (VLBW) performed lower than same-aged term-born controls in cognitive and behavioral aspects of three executive functions: inhibition, working memory, and shifting. Special attention was given to sex differences. Fifty-two VPT/VLBW children (26 girls, 50%) born in the cohort of 1998-2003 and 36 same-aged term-born children (18 girls, 50%) were recruited. As cognitive measures, children completed tasks of inhibition (Color-Word Interference Test, D-KEFS; Delis, Kaplan, & Kramer, 2001 ), working memory (digit span backwards, HAWIK-IV; Petermann & Petermann, 2008 ), and shifting (Trail Making Test, number-letter-switching, D-KEFS; Delis et al., 2001 ). As behavioral measures, mothers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF; Gioia, Isquith, Guy, & Kenworthy, 2000 ). Scales of interest were inhibit, working memory, and shift. Analyses of the cognitive aspects of executive functions revealed that VPT/VLBW children performed significantly lower than controls in the shifting task but not in the working memory and inhibition tasks. Analyses of behavioral aspects of executive functions revealed that VPT/VLBW children displayed more problems than the controls in working memory in everyday life but not in inhibition and shifting. No sex differences could be detected either in cognitive or behavioral aspects of executive functions. To conclude, cognitive and behavioral measures of executive functions were not congruent in VPT/VLBW children. In clinical practice, the combination of cognitive and behavioral instruments is required to disclose children's executive difficulties.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Ritter, Barbara, Perrig, Walter, Steinlin, Maja, Everts, Regula


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Taylor & Francis




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:40

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 224175)

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