Very preterm children’s functioning at school-age: Is executive function training the solution?

C.A. van Houdt

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis - Research and graduation internal


This thesis aimed to examine (1) the severity of executive function (EF) deficits after preterm birth and potential risk factors for these deficits, (2) the effects of a computerized EF training in very preterm (VPT) children with attentional problems, (3) whether subtypes in behavioral functioning can be identified in VPT children and whether specific risk factors and/or neurocognitive functioning are associated with these subtypes and (4) developmental outcomes of VPT children with highly educated parents compared to term-born children with highly educated parents.
Results of a meta-analysis indicated that VPT children have mild-to-moderate difficulties in all three core EFs, which have not decreased with recent advances in neonatal medical care, are similar for boys and girls and remain stable across childhood. Results of a double-blind RCT indicated that a computerized EF training does not have positive effects for VPT children with attentional problems. Results of a cross-sectional study indicated that two behavioral subtypes can be identified in VPT children, a low and a high problems subtype. The high problems subtype was associated with lower parental education level, lower IQ and poorer working memory and inhibition, but not to neonatal medical complications. Results of another cross-sectional study indicated that VPT children with highly educated parents perform below term-born children with highly educated parents on IQ and behavior, but not on academic performance. Furthermore, regardless of being born VPT or at term, children with two highly educated parents outperformed children with one highly and one middle educated parent on most measures.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • van Kaam, Anton H. L. C., Supervisor
  • Oosterlaan, J, Supervisor
  • Aarnoudse-Moens, Cornelieke S. H., Co-supervisor
  • Leemhuis, Aleid G., Co-supervisor
Award date10 Mar 2020
Print ISBNs9789463613828
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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