Usefulness of ICF-CY to define functioning and disability in very low birth weight children: A retrospective study

A. M. Giovannetti, A. Raggi, M. Leonardi, F. Mosca, S. Gangi, S. Sabbadini, O. Picciolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Preterm birth is associated with variable degrees of brain injury, adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes and continuing special health care needs. Study and aims: This observational, retrospective and cross-sectional study aims to describe the functional features of VLBW infants using the ICF-CY classification and to identify the association between gender, twinship, birth weight, gestational age, adjusted age and functioning as defined by the ICF biopsychosocial model. Sample: 56 VLBW infants (corrected age of 12-24. months) were consecutively enrolled. Instruments: Three assessment tools were used: a neuro-functional assessment (NFA); the Griffiths Mental Development Scales-Revised: Birth to 2. years (Griffiths 0-2) to evaluate psychomotor development and the ICF-CY questionnaire for ages 0-3. Results: A two-step cluster component analysis with the Bayesian information criterion was conducted based on NFA and Griffiths 0-2 scores and four groups of infant's functioning (very low, low, intermediate, high) emerged. Study findings demonstrate that the traditional assessment tools tend to poorly evaluate the interaction between the person's functioning and environment factors (EF), even thought EF results to be relevant for VLBW infants. The higher number of symptoms, more difficulties in activities and participations and the higher number of environmental facilitators maximize the difference between infants with very low and those with intermediate or higher functioning. The distribution of gender or the presence of siblings is not significantly associated to any group. Conclusion: This study shows that a more complete evaluation of functioning of VLBW children, based on the biopsychosocial approach, is needed and can be successfully implemented in the follow-up routine through ICF-CY questionnaire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-831
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Disability
  • Griffiths 0-2
  • ICF-CY questionnaires
  • Neuro-functional assessment
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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