The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (BNBAS) is a standardized tool used to assess the behavioral and neurological development of newborns. It is typically performed within the first 48 hours of life, although it can also be used to assess the development of premature infants. The BNBAS evaluates a newborn infant’s ability to respond to stimuli, motor development, autonomic and reflexive responses, and state organization. It is also used to assess the infant’s ability to interact with the environment and caregivers. The BNBAS is used by medical professionals to identify potential developmental delays and to assess the overall health of the newborn.

Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale

Test to assess a newborn’s abilities
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Neonatal Behavioral Rating Scale
synonyms Brazelton Neonatal Rating Scale

The Neonatal Behavioral Rating Scale (NBAS), also known as Brazelton Neonatal Rating Scale (BNAS), was developed in 1973 by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and your colleagues. This test is intended to provide an index of a newborn’s abilities and is usually given to an infant between 3 days and 4 weeks of age. This approach was innovative because it recognized that the baby is a highly developed being. body, even newborn. The profile describes the baby’s strengths, adaptive responses it’s possible vulnerabilities. This knowledge can help country develop appropriate strategies for caring in intimate relationships to improve your first relationship with the child.

test procedure

The Brazelton scale produces a total of 47 scores, of which 27 are behavior-related and 20 are elicited responses. These scores measure a variety of areas, including the “neurological, social and behavioral aspects of a newborn’s functioning”. In addition, “factors such as reflexes, stress responses, startle reactions, affection, motor maturity, ability to habituate to sensory stimuli and hand-mouth coordination are evaluated”.

Validity evidence is strong for the Brazelton scale, providing a considerable research base. This scale has been widely used as a research tool as well as a special purpose diagnostic tool. The following is a list of several research projects that have implemented the Brazelton scale:

  • “Used to assess the effects of low birth weight in preterm infants”
  • “I used it to study the effects of cocaine use in pregnancy”
  • “Prenatal Alcohol Exposure”
  • “Prenatal Iron Deficiency”
  • “prenatal maternal humor”
  • “Prenatal Maternal Dopamine Levels”
  • “Environmental Agents”
  • “parent-infant attachment”
  • “Gender Differences in Newborns”
  • “High-risk newborns”

Despite the influence of the Brazelton scale, it has some disadvantages. The biggest one is that there are no standards available. Therefore, because examiners and researchers say that one child scored higher than another, there is no standard sample to compare against. Furthermore, the scores are not fully understood; additional tests are required. As for validity, it has “poorly documented predictive and construct validity”. It also doesn’t do a good job of predicting later intelligence, although the scale is supposed to assess the “infant’s role in the mother-infant social relationship”, of which high scores are supposed to presume “high levels of intelligence”.

A 2018 NBAS systematic review of its relationship to caregiver support and improved outcomes for caregivers and infants found only very low-quality evidence for improving parent-infant interaction for low-risk primary caregivers and their infants.

Therefore, the test’s primary value is as a research tool and a complementary test to other medical testing procedures.

Training is necessary for effective and reliable administration of the NBAS.


Further reading

  • Brazelton, T. Berry; Nugent, J. Kevin (2011). Neonatal behavioral assessment scale (4th ed.). London: MacKeith Press. ISBN 978-1-907655-03-6.
  • Brazelton, TB (1978). “The Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Rating Scale: Introduction”. Society for Research in Child Development Monographs. 43 (5–6): 1–13. It hurts:10.2307/1165847. JSTOR 1165847. PMID 752799.
  • Als, H; Tronick, E; Adamson, L; Brazelton, TB (October 1976). “Behavior of term newborns with low birth weight”. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 18 (5): 590–602. It hurts:10.1111/j.1469-8749.1976.tb04205.x. PMID 976613.
  • Als, H; Tronick, E; Lester, BM; Brazelton, TB (1977). “The Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Rating Scale (BNBAS)”. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 5 (3): 215–31. It hurts:10.1007/bf00913693. PMID 903518.
  • Brazelton, TB (Feb-March 1983). “[Neonatal behavior evaluation scale]”. Neuropsychiatrie de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence (in French). 31 (2–3): 61–96. PMID 6866223.
  • Widmayer, SM; Field, TM (May 1981). “Effects of Brazelton demonstrations for mothers on the development of preterm infants”. Pediatrics. 67 (5): 711–4. PMID 7255001.

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