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Psychol Med. 2011 Aug;41(8):1763-74. doi: 10.1017/S0033291710002357. Epub 2010 Dec 7.

Psychopathology in young adults born at extremely low birth weight.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. boylem@mcmaster.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about the long-term mental health of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) (<1000 g) survivors. We test whether young adults aged 22 to 26 years born at ELBW differ from normal birth weight (NBW) controls in self-reported levels of psychopathology.

METHOD:

Participants included 142 ELBW survivors (86% response) born between 1977 and 1982 to residents of central-west Ontario, Canada and 133 NBW control subjects (92% response). The Young Adult Self-Report measure was used to create five DSM-IV oriented scales aggregated to form internalizing (depressive problems, anxiety problems, avoidant personality problems) and externalizing (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder problems and antisocial personality problems) scales.

RESULTS:

After adjusting for family background characteristics, mean scores for ELBW survivors were 3.02 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78-5.26] points higher for internalizing problems and no different, i.e. 0.00 (95% CI -1.17 to 1.17), for externalizing problems. There was a sex × group statistical interaction such that being male muted the risk for externalizing problems among those born at ELBW: -2.11 (95% CI -4.21 to -0.01). Stratifying ELBW adults as born small for gestational age (SGA) versus appropriate weight for gestational age (AGA) revealed a significant gradient of risk for levels of internalizing problems that was largest for SGA, i.e. 4.75 (95% CI 1.24-8.26), and next largest for AGA, 2.49 (95% CI 0.11-4.87), compared with NBW controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Depression, anxiety and avoidant personality problems (internalizing problems) are elevated in young adulthood among ELBW survivors. This effect is relatively small overall but noticeably larger among ELBW survivors born SGA.

PMID:
21134317
DOI:
10.1017/S0033291710002357
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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