Developmental assessment of preterm infants: Chronological or corrected age?

Ayelet Harel-Gadassi, Edwa Friedlander, Maya Yaari, Benjamin Bar-Oz, Smadar Eventov-Friedman, David Mankuta, Nurit Yirmiya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The aim of this study is to examine the effect of age correction on the developmental assessment scores of preterm infants, using for the first time, the Mullen scales of early learning (MSEL) test. Participants included 110 preterm infants (born at a gestational age of ≤ 34 weeks) at ages 1, 4, 8, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months. The corrected age-based MSEL composite score and each of the five MSEL scale scores were significantly higher than chronological age-based scores at all ages. These corrected scores were significantly higher than the chronological scores regardless of gestational age whether weight was, or adequate or small for gestational age. Larger differences between corrected and chronological age-based scores significantly correlated with earlier gestational age and with lower birth weight between 1 and 24 months but not at 36 months. Using chronological age-based scores yielded significantly more infants identified with developmental delays than using corrected age-based scores. The findings indicate that clinicians and researchers, as well as family members, should be aware of and acknowledge the distinction between corrected and chronological ages when evaluating preterm infants in research and clinical practices.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Chronological age
  • Cognitive development
  • Corrected age
  • Mullen scales of early learning
  • Preterm infants


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