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.