Longitudinal follow-up of children born preterm: somatic and mental health, self-esteem and quality of life at age 19

Early Hum Dev. 2001 Mar;61(2):97-110. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(00)00123-7.


In a long-term prospective study, 39 preterm children born before 35 completed weeks of gestation and 23 full-term children were followed up at 19 years of age. Information about somatic and mental health was obtained through interviews and confirmed by medical records. Self-esteem and quality of life were assessed from the subjects' perspective. Significantly more preterms than full-terms had somatic health problems, both during childhood and adolescence and also at age 19. A wide spectrum of diagnoses was represented. Preterms with moderately severe somatic problems also showed signs of psychological distress. The frequency of mental health problems did not differ between the groups. Preterms and full-terms had similarly positive scores regarding self-esteem and quality of life. Altogether, the results indicate that apart from some vulnerability regarding physical health, this group of moderately immature subjects born preterm seems to function as well as young adults in general in important domains of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept*