Background and Purposes: The purposes of this meta-analysis were (1) to investigate the relation between prematurity and the parameters of infant kicking, and (2) to examine to what degree the effect size varies as a function of age, study type, publication type, and country of origin. Methods: Six studies met all the inclusion criteria and were used for this meta-analysis. A r-indicator was used to represent the effect size indicating the difference between low-risk preterm and full term infants and the difference in kinematic variables between high-risk preterm and full term infants. A fixed-effect model was assumed in this study. To determine whether the r-indicators were derived from a common population, a heterogeneity analysis (Q) was computed for each kinematic variable. Potential moderators (study type, publication type, country of origin, and age) were analyzed for each variable. Results: Overall, there was a consistent moderate to large effect size for intralimb coordination variables between high-risk preterm and full term infants. For other kicking parameters, there was a small effect size between preterm infants (both low-risk and high risk groups) and full term infants. From the moderator analyses, studies testing high-risk infants younger than 4 months had a small positive effect for the measures of intralimb coordination, the hip-knee and hip-ankle joint correlations; whereas studies testing infants older than 4 months had a large positive effect on these hip-knee and hip-ankle pairs. On the contrary, studies testing low-risk infants younger than 4 months had a medium positive effect; whereas studies testing low-risk infants older than 4 months showed no effect. Conclusion: The results suggest that intralimb coordination parameters after 4 months of age may be early indicators of atypical coordination since low-risk infants resolved their differences after 4 months of age but high-risk infants sustained the atypical intralimb coordination.
Chen, Y., Fetters, L. (2002). A comparison of the leg coordination patterns of preterm and fullterm infants: A meta-analysis. Formosan Journal of Physical Therapy, 27(6), 303-313.
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