The public defense of Anna Karin Andersson's doctoral thesis in Care Sciences

Doctoral thesis and Licentiate seminars

Datum: 2017-10-20
Tid: 13.15
Plats: Mälardalen university, room Filen, Eskilstuna

The public defense of Anna Karin Andersson's doctoral thesis in Care Sciences will take place at Mälardalen university, room Filen, Eskilstuna at 13.15 on October 20.

Title: "Everyday functioning in six-year-old children born preterm".

Serial number: 236.

The faculty examiner is Docent Eva Nordmark, Lunds University and the examining committee consists of Docent Margareta Adolfsson, Jönköping University, docent Fredrik Ahlsson, Uppsala University and Professor Inger Holmström, MDH

Reserve: Docent Mia Heikkilä, MDH.


Everyday life for children consists of complex situations such as outdoor-games with friends, family dinner, swim-school and video-games with siblings. Functioning in these situations requires skills and abilities to adapt to the activity and to the context of the everyday life situation. Also, functioning requires interaction with others and the ability to fulfill social roles based on age, maturity and cultural expectations. Preterm born children have in several studies been found at risk of cognitive and motor deficiencies and behaviour problems that may be significant for everyday functioning. 
The overall aim of the thesis was to explore everyday functioning in six-year-old children born preterm. The included studies explored parents’ perceptions of everyday functioning of their children, the relationship to risk factors of preterm birth, the children's perceptions of own competence in everyday activities, and the children's perceptions of meaningful everyday life situations. With data from national registers, parental questionnaires, a pictorial interview instrument and interviews based on the children's photographs, the thesis moved from a group-based perspective to an individual-based perspective and from a child perspective to the child's perspective. A total of 144 children born preterm, 222 children born full-term and their parents were involved in the four studies. 
The results showed that most parents perceived their children with strong everyday functioning: good skills in motor function, communication and interaction with others and with few behaviour problems. The children born preterm were perceived with weaker everyday functioning compared to those born full-term, however the patterns of everyday functioning varied in a similar way in both groups. Preterm birth was found less important yet hyperactivity was found most influential for everyday functioning. Children born preterm perceived themselves competent in most everyday activities. The children described meaningful everyday situations as doing things on their own, with others and in different places. The children described the importance of appropriate skills and being with significant people and pets. They also expressed the desire to do more things, to learn new skills and become more competent. The results in the thesis show that clinical follow up of children born preterm should comprehend the assessment of everyday functioning including preterm risk factors, as well as behavioral and environmental factors. Preschool children born preterm are able to reflect on their own functioning, needs and desires to participate in everyday situations, thus young children should be included in the planning of clinical interventions relating to everyday life.