Child Motivation and Family Environment Influence Outcomes of Working Memory Training in Extremely Preterm Children
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Cognitive training can improve working memory in children at risk of working memory difficulties; however, response to training can vary and doubt exists if working memory improvements can be sustained long- term. This study aimed to explore whether child motivation and family environment are associated with working memory trajectories in children born extremely preterm or extremely low birth weight. Forty-five 7-year-old children completed Cogmed Working Memory Training® at home over 5–7 weeks. Children and their families completed working memory tests and child motivation and family environment questionnaires at baseline, with working memory further tested 2 weeks, 12 months and 24 months post-training. Latent growth modelling was used to explore whether child motivation and family environment factors were associated with working memory trajectories. Children’s desire for challenge, training competence, and being from a single-parent household were associated with short-term improvements in verbal short-term memory. Children from poorer functioning families were associated with short-term improvements in working memory. There was little evidence that child motivation or family environment was associated with long-term working memory changes. Child motivation and the training environment may be important for understanding training effects in children born extremely preterm or extremely low birth weight, and warrant closer examination in working memory training studies.
KeywordsWorking memory, cognitive training Prematurity Motivation Family functioning Individual differences
Extremely low birth weight
Latent growth model
This research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC: Project Grant 1028422, Centre of Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine (1060733), Program Grant 606789, Senior Research Fellowship 1081288, Career Development Fellowship 1085754), Monash University and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study was approved by the Royal Children’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee in Melbourne, Australia. Written informed consent was obtained from primary caregivers before participation.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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