The impact of wealth on the cognitive development of children who were preterm infants

Susan Braid, Pamela K. Donohue, Donna M. Strobino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the influence wealth has on cognitive development in 2-year-old children who were born preterm, and to determine whether racial/ethnic differences in wealth explained disparities in cognitive development. SUBJECTS: A nationally representative sample of 1400 children who were born between 22 and 36 weeks' gestation. DESIGN: Cohort study. METHODS: Secondary data analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). The ECLS-B was a prospective national longitudinal study of infants born in the United States during the calendar year 2001 drawn from birth certificates in the United States. MAIN OUTCOMES: The impact wealth (parental homeownership and investments) had on cognitive development at 2 years and whether wealth eliminated the cognitive disparity seen between white, African American, and Hispanic children. PRINCIPAL RESULTS: Wealth (homeownership and investments) did not have an independent effect on cognitive development, but it did eliminate the disparity between white children and African American children (P ≥ .05). However, wealth did not eliminate the disparity in cognitive development between white children and Hispanic children. Hispanic children scored 3.91 points lower than white children (P ≤ .001). CONCLUSION: In contrast to other follow-up studies showing persistent differences in cognitive development between white children and African American children, this study found that wealth indicators attenuated the difference. Wealth may be a more accurate proxy for socioeconomic status in studying factors influencing cognitive outcomes in children born preterm than just using measures such as maternal education and income. In future follow-up studies of multiracial preterm children, indicators that represent wealth should be included for an accurate representation of social economic status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Neonatal Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cognitive development
  • Preterm infant
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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