Effects of prematurity on infants' joint attention abilities: A meta-analytic study

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Infant and Child Development
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Mateus V.
Osorio A.
Martins C.
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Joint attention abilities seem to be compromised in preterm infants. This meta-analysis aimed at investigating whether premature infants differ systematically from full-term infants in several dimensions of joint attention—initiating joint attention, responding to joint attention, and joint attention episodes—and explore whether such differences are dependent on gestational age. Bibliographic databases and repositories of dissertations and theses were searched from January 1970 to June 2016. Empirical studies were eligible if an observational measure was used to assess joint attention from 9- to 24-month corrected age and a full-term comparison group was included. Overall, preterm infants did not differ from full-term infants across each joint attention dimension. However, impairments emerged for responding and joint attention episodes when degree of prematurity was considered. Results suggest that distinct dimensions of joint attention may be differently influenced by prematurity. Highlights: Meta-analysis aimed at investigating the effect of prematurity on infants' joint attention abilities. Overall, preterm and full-term infants did not differ in joint attention, but specific impairments emerged when considering degree of prematurity. Results suggest a differential impact of prematurity on specific dimensions of infants' joint attention abilities.
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