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Open Access

Degree Program


Degree Name

Thesis (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded



Newborn infants, Premature infants


The effects of perinatal risk and gestational age on sensory responsiveness and the ability to habituate were evaluated in three groups of preterm newborns designated as at high-, moderate-, and low-risk for developmental disability. Two major hypotheses were investigated: 1) that preterm infants have an elevated sensory threshold leaving them relatively unavailable to stimulation and 2) that once the preterm is stimulated sufficiently to respond, he/she is largely unable to habituate to repeated stimulus presentations. Additionally, the reliability of responsiveness and habituation over a 24-hour period was assessed.