Longitudinal associations across prematurity, attention, and language in school-age children

Jamie Mahurin-Smith, Laura S. Dethorne, Stephen A. Petrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This research note explores the potential role of attention in mediating previously reported associations between language outcomes and prematurity. Method: As a follow-up investigation to Mahurin Smith, DeThorne, Logan, Channell, and Petrill (2014), we employed multilevel modeling to analyze longitudinal data on language and attention collected when children were, on average, ages of 7, 8, and 10 years. The sample of 114 children taken from the Western Reserve Reading and Math Project was selected to oversample children with a history of prematurity while also controlling for differences in confounding influences such as age, gender, parental education, and race. Results: As predicted, attention differentially predicted language outcomes based on form of measurement. Specifically, parent and examiner ratings of attention were significantly associated with standardized test performance at all 3 time points (R2 = 15.2%–20%). Associations between attention and language sample measures were less consistent across home visits and tended to be smaller in effect size. Conclusion: Attention abilities are associated with children’s language performance even in the absence of an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. Clinical implications, particularly as related to assessment, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3601-3608
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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