Research with the NBAS

As the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale provides a rich assessment of the newborn infant, many researchers have used it, from the 1970s to the present day, as a baseline measure of what the baby is like at birth

See below the type of studies that have been conducted with the NBAS and discover some of the most up to date references.

Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale

The NBAS is an assessment regarded as the most comprehensive examination of newborn behaviour available to researchers and clinicians.

It is used as a measure in research to study the effects of several perinatal variables (e.g. prenatal exposure to drugs, low birth weight, prenatal exposure to maternal mood disorders), and also in cross-cultural and prediction studies. The NBAS has been used recently, for instance, in the Wirral Child Health and Development Study.

Research has shown that the NBAS also has the potential to be used as a parenting intervention tool.

NBAS References

This is a selection of some of the most recent research using the NBAS. If you are interested in a specific subject or on previous studies, please contact us.

NBAS as a research measure

Accornero V.H., Anthony J.C., Morrow C.E., Xue L., Mansoor E., Johnson A.L., McCoy C.B., & Bandstra E.S. (2011). Estimated effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on examiner-rated behavior at age 7 years. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33(3), 370-8.

Barona, M., Taborelli, E., Corfield, F., Pawlby, S., Easter, A., Schmidt, U., Treasure, J., & Micali, N. (2017). Neurobehavioural and cognitive development in infants born to mothers with eating disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 58(8):931-938. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12736

Braithwaite, E.C., Pickles, A., Sharp, H., Glover, V., O’Donnell, J., Tibu, F., & Hill, J. (2017) Maternal prenatal cortisol predicts infant negative emotionality in a sex-dependent manner. Physiology and Behaviour 175:31-36. DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.03.017.

Canals J, Fernandez-Ballart J and Esparo J (2003). Evolution of neonatal behavior assessment scale scores in the first month of life. Infant Behavior & Development, 26, 227-37.

Canals J, Hernandez-Martinez C, Esparo G, and Fernandez-Ballart J (2011). Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale as a predictor of cognitive development and IQ in full-term infants: a 6-year longitudinal study.Acta Pediatrica, 100, 1331-7.

Cecil, C. A. M., Pickles, A., Hill, J., & Sharp, H. (2017). The Joint Contributions of Maternal Depression and Infant Negative Emotionality to Maternal Sensitivity to Infant Distress.

Feldman R & Eidelman A. (2006). Neonatal state organization, neuromaturation, mother-infant interaction, and cognitive development in small-for-gestational-age premature infants. Pediatrics, 118(3), 869-78.

Hernandez-Martinez C, Arija V.V., Escribano S.J., Canals S.J. (2012).A longitudinal study on the effects of maternal smoking and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy on neonatal neurobehavior. Early Human Development, 88(6), 403-8.

Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Diego M, and Ruddock M (2006). Greater arousal and less attentiveness to face/voice stimuli by neonates of depressed mothers on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 594-8.

Keenan K., Gunthorpe D., & Grace D. (2007). Parsing the relations between SES and stress reactivity: examining individual differences in neonatal stress response. Infant Behavior & Development, 30(1), 134-145.

Loo KL, Ohgi S, Zhu H, Howard J & Chen L (2005). “Cross-cultural comparison of the neurobehavioral characteristics of Chines and Japanese neonates”. Pediatrics International, 47, 446-51.

Mansi G, De Maio C, Araimo G, Rotta I, Crivaro V, Sarno M, Raimondi F & Paludetto R. (2003). “Safe” hyperbilirubinemia is associated with altered neonatal behavior. Biology of the Neonate, 83(1), 19-21.

Mansi G, Raimondi F, Pichini S, Capasso L, Sarno M, Zuccaro P, Garcia-Algar O, Romano A, Paludetto R. (2007) Neonatal urinary cotinine correlates with behavioral alterations in newborns prenatally exposed to tobacco smoke. Pediatric Research, 61(2), 257-61.

Oberlander, T. F., Jacobson, S. W., Weinberg, J., Grunau, R. E., Molteno, C. D. and Jacobson, J. L. (2010), Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Alters Biobehavioral Reactivity to Pain in Newborns. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34: 681–692.

Osborne, S., Biaggi, A., Chua, T.E., Du Preez, A., Hazelgrove, K., Nikkheslat, N., Previti, G., Zunszain, P.A., Conroy, S., & Pariante, C.M. (2018). Antenatal depression programs cortisol stress reactivity in offspring through increased maternal inflammation and cortisol in pregnancy: The Psychiatry Research and Motherhood – Depression (PRAM-D) Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology , Volume 98 , 211 – 221

Sagiv S.K., Nugent J.K., Brazelton T.B., Choi A.L., Tolbert P.E., Altshul L.M., Korrick S.A. (2008). Prenatal organochlorine exposure and measures of behavior in infancy using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS).Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(5), 666-73.

Wolf M.J., Koldewijn K., Beelen A, Smit B, Hedlund R & de Groot I.J. (2002). Neurobehavioral and developmental profile of very low birthweight preterm infants in early infancy. Acta Pediatrica, 91(8), 930-8.

NBAS as an intervention

Hawthorne, J. (2004). Training health professionals in the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) and its use as an intervention. The Signal: Newsletter of the World Association for Infant Mental Health 2004; Vol. 12, issue 3 & 4:1–36.

Hawthorne, J. (2005). Using the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale to support parent-infant relationships. Infant, 1(6), 213-218.

Kusaka, R., Ohgi, S., Hirotaka, G. & Fujimoto, T. (2007). Short-term effects of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale-based intervention for infants with developmental disabilities.Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 19, 1-8.

Nugent, J. K. Petruaskas, B., & Brazelton, T. B. (2009). The Infant as a Person: enabling healthy infant development worldwide. Hoboken, NJ.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

Ohgi, S. Fukada, M., Akiyama, T. & Gima, H. (2004). Effect of an early intervention programme on low birthweight infants with cerebral injuries. Journal of Pediatric Child Health, 40, 689-695.


Brazelton, T. B., & Nugent, J. K. (2011). The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, 4th edition. Mac Keith Press, London

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