Psychiatric morbidity in two low birth weight groups assessed by diagnostic interview in young adulthood

Acta Paediatr. 2011 Apr;100(4):598-604. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.02111.x. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Aim: To study the prevalence and characteristics of psychiatric symptoms and disorders in young adults born with low birth weight.

Methods: At 20 years of age 44 very low birth weight (VLBW: birth weight ≤1500 g), 55 term born small for gestational age (SGA: birth weight <10th percentile) and 75 control subjects born 1986-1988 were assessed using the interview Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-age children and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Personality Disorders, Children's Global Assessment Scale and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Rating Scale IV; self-report and parent report.

Results: Fourteen (33%) VLBW versus six (8%) control participants had a definite psychiatric disorder: OR=5.6 (1.9-15.9). In the term SGA group, 14 (26%) had a disorder: OR=3.9 (1.4-11.0) vs controls. Anxiety disorders and ADHD were the most frequent diagnoses. The differences were not explained by gender, assessment age or parental socioeconomic status. ADHD Rating Scale mean scores were higher in parent reports in the VLBW group and in self-reports in the term SGA group compared with the control group.

Conclusion: Children born with low birth weight whether caused by preterm birth or by growth retardation at term seem to be at increased risk for psychiatric disorders as young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Parents
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Young Adult