Consequence of low birth weight

Daniel V. Caputo, Wallace Mandell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Examines the correlation of low birth weight (prematurity) with a number of deficits and debilities in development. Intellectual impairment, e.g., has been found to be significant for very low-birth-weight individuals, but not for those at the upper end of the low-birth-weight distribution. Low birth weight is relatively frequent in in the histories of mental retardates, institutionalized individuals, and high school dropouts. Deviant behaviors, i.e., hyperkinesis, autism, and involvement in childhood accidents, appear to be relatively common among prematures, as are difficulties in language development, and in various areas of academic achievement. Physical growth, motor behavior, and neurological functioning are adversely affected as well. Minimal brain damage is presumed to mediate these sequelae. In turn, poor maternal nutrition, and inadequate prenatal care are viewed as causative of both low birth weight and of the attendant minimal brain damage. The difficulty of exercising proper control over potentially confounding variables is also discussed. (64 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-383
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3 PART 1
StatePublished - Nov 1970
Externally publishedYes


  • developmental defects, low birth weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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