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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2007 April;59(2):121-8


language: Italian

Description and evaluation of creative thinking in preterm low birth weight infants

Parisi L., Di Filippo T., Firrigno L., La Grutta S., Testa D., Roccella M.

Unità di Neuropsichiatria Infantile Dipartimento di Psicologia Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo


Aim. Since the 1950s, the problem of how to evaluate creativity has been addressed in studies on the definition of measurement criteria and on the relationship between intelligence and creative thinking. Many revealed cognitive and relational disorders in preterm infants, particularly in preterm very low birth weight infants (birth weight <1 500 g) and in infants with serious complications. This study describes the development of creative thinking in a group of children born preterm.
Methods. The study sample was 43 children (21 males, 22 females; age range 6-11 years), regularly attending school, born with low birth weight (1 050-2 450 g) at 29-32 weeks gestational age, and compared with a control group with birth weight >2 500 g. The test battery included: Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TCTT); WISC-R intelligence test; Goodenough Human Figure Drawing Test.
Results. Statistical analysis (Mann-Whitney U test) showed a statistically significant difference (P>0.05) between the 2 groups; scores for figure originality, figure fluidity and figure elaboration were consistently higher in the control group. Within the low birth weight group, there was a significant correlation (Spearman r) between verbal IQ and verbal fluidity and verbal flexibility subscale scores and between IQ performance and figure elaboration. Scores on the figure drawing tests showed higher creative ability in the control group.
Conclusion. In children born preterm with low birth weight, emotive dynamics and flow of affection may influence the channels of communication between child and family. The low figure originality subscale scores support the hypothesis that psychodynamic and relational factors (worry about the preterm condition, overprotective behaviour by parents and others) could lead to diminished autonomy, flexibility and manipulatory interest in the child.

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