Longitudinal changes in family outcomes of very low birth weight

J Pediatr Psychol. 2006 Nov-Dec;31(10):1024-35. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsj075. Epub 2005 Sep 8.


Objectives: Although children with very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g) are at high risk for developmental impairments, we know little about the long-term effects of VLBW on families. This study examined long-term family outcomes and their stability over time.

Methods: Participants were the families of 64 children with <750 g birth weight, 54 with 750-1499 g birth weight, and 66 term-born controls. Family burden and parental distress were assessed annually as part of longitudinal follow-up of the children from mean ages 11-14 years.

Results: Family burden and parental distress were higher in the <750 g group than in the term-born group, but differences varied with the child's age and family environment.

Conclusions: The findings document long-term effects of VLBW on families that are moderated by the degree of low birth weight, child's age, and family environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Change Events
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors