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Associations between mood states in high-risk infants and later neurodevelopmental outcomes Pighini Mirabal, Maria J.


This retrospective study examined the possibility of associations between twovariables: "neurodevelopmental outcome" (cerebral palsy, developmental delays and non-handicapped) and "mood states" (fussy/skittish, calm, sunny, and too variable to rate) in a sample of 208 high-risk infants. It was based on the premise that predominantly negative or variable moods (i.e., "fussy/skittish" or "too variable to rate") among high-risk infants might be considered neurobehavioural markers for later neurodevelopmental disabilities,such as cerebral palsy. The main hypothesis of the study expected the two variables to be related, that is, that there would be an overall association between "neurodevelopmental outcome" between the ages of 3 to 8 years and "mood states," at 4 months' corrected age. Should the main hypothesis have been confirmed, four subsequent hypotheses predicted specific associations between the outcome category of cerebral palsy and irritable and labile "mood states," as well as specific associations between the outcome category of developmental delays and irritable and labile "mood states". A chi-square analysis conducted to test the overall association between "neurodevelopmental outcome" and"mood states" showed no association between them. For that reason, specific associations were not tested. Because more sensitive statistical analyses could not be used, some caution is necessary in drawing final conclusions. However, interesting tendencies were observed in the distribution of the ratings of "mood states" among the categories of "neurodevelopmental outcome," which call for further evaluation in the testing of the distribution. Therefore, in spite of the fact that the main research hypothesiswas rejected, the results of the present study suggest the need for additional research. The fact that no significant relationships could be found is an important finding, and suggests the need for prospective longitudinal research on this topic.

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