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January 9, 1987

Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale

Author Affiliations

Boston University School of Medicine

Boston University School of Medicine

JAMA. 1987;257(2):251. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390020117041

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Dr T. Berry Brazelton has, almost single-handedly, awakened the pediatric community to the competency of the newborn infant to respond to environmental stimuli. Before publication of Dr Brazelton's excellent studies, which formed the basis for the development of the National Behavioral Assessment Scale, newborn infants were considered passive recipients of environmental stimuli. The NBAS has helped both care givers and parents to see the infant's cognitive and affective responsiveness.

This text is, in essence, a manual describing the correct methodology for adminstration of the NBAS. It is of primary interest to pediatricians, nurses, psychologists, and other professionals who use the scale for either clinical or research purposes.

The introductory chapter by Dr Brazelton presents the rationale behind newborn behavioral assessment. The major portion of the text details the proper way to administer each of the 37 scale items as well as a battery of elicited neurological responses. The descriptions are