Low-birthweight adolescents: quality of life and parent-child relations

Acta Paediatr. 2005 Sep;94(9):1295-302. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb02091.x.


Aim: To explore the effect of low birthweight on quality of life, the parent-child relationship and the parents' mental health. DESIGN/STUDY GROUPS: A population-based follow-up of 56 very-low-birthweight (<or=1500 g), 60 term small-for-gestational-age (birthweight<10th centile) and 83 term control adolescents (birthweight>or=10th centile) at 14 y of age.

Outcome measures: Child Health Questionnaire (Child Form, Parent Form), Parental Bonding Instrument rated by adolescents and parents; Symptom Checklist-90-Revised rated by mothers and fathers.

Results: There were no group differences in self-reported health or self-esteem. Parents reported more behavioural problems and lower psychosocial health for very-low-birthweight adolescents (p<0.001) compared with controls. Results did not differ significantly between small-for-gestational-age and control adolescents. The youngsters, their mothers and fathers perceived the same amount of relational warmth in all three groups. Very-low-birthweight parents reported more emotional impact than control parents, especially in the presence of psychiatric problems and cerebral palsy. There were no group differences in mothers' or fathers' mental health.

Conclusion: The low-birthweight adolescents perceived quality of life as others did, but the parents reported functional disadvantages for the very-low-birthweight group. Birthweight did not influence the warmth in the parent-child relationship. Parents of very-low-birthweight adolescents experienced increased emotional burden, but they did not have more mental health problems than others.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Family
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Linear Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires