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Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;190:469-74.

Length of gestation and depressive symptoms at age 60 years.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, PO Box 9, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. katri.raikkonen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A non-optimal foetal environment, reflected in smaller birth size and shorter duration of gestation, is a risk factor for compromised health later in life.

AIMS:

To examine whether smaller birth size and shorter gestation predict depressive symptoms.

METHOD:

A total of 1371 members of a cohort born between 1934 and 1944 at term (259-294 days'gestation) in Helsinki, Finland, completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) at an average age of 61.5 years (BDI) and 63.4 years (BDI and CES-D).

RESULTS:

Gestational length predicted depressive symptoms linearly and independently of gender and birth weight: per day decrease in gestational length, depressive symptoms scores increased by 0.8-0.9% (95% CI 0.2-1.4, P<0.009). Weight, length and head circumference at birth showed no linear association with depression, adjusted for gender and gestational length. The results did not change when further controlled for socio-economic characteristics at birth and in adulthood, age and body mass index in adulthood.

CONCLUSIONS:

Susceptibility to depressive symptoms may relate to shorter length of gestation.

PMID:
17541105
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.106.022145
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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