The Development of Temperament in Very Low Birth Weight Children

  • Jo Hermanns
  • Bernard Cats
  • Lya den Ouden
Part of the Topics in Developmental Psychobiology book series (TDP)


The survival rate of very low birth weight (VLBW) children—generally defined as 1,500 g or less at birth—has improved considerably in the last few decades. In the Netherlands, for example, 60% to 70% of these children now survive the hazardous neonatal period (van Doornik, Cats, Versluys, de Saint Aulaire, & van de Woerd, 1980). However, they continue to be at risk for later developmental problems. Three interdependent groups of variables are held responsible for the less-than-favorable prognosis for many VLBW children. They are as follows:
  1. 1.

    The prematurity or dysmaturity as such. The untimely born child is not prepared for the life outside the uterus, and especially has problems with respiration and the regulation of body temperature.

  2. 2.

    The suboptimal physical condition that results from the low birth weight and leads to such problems as an increased susceptibility for infection.

  3. 3.

    The effect that the several weeks or months spent in the incubator separated from the parents has on the psychological development of the child.



Spastic Diplegia Behavioral Style Friendly Behavior Temperament Profile Newborn Intensive Care 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jo Hermanns
    • 1
  • Bernard Cats
    • 2
  • Lya den Ouden
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Developmental PsychologyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.Department of NeonatologyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands

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