Growing up after extremely preterm birth: lifespan mental health outcomes

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2014 Apr;19(2):97-104. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2013.11.004. Epub 2013 Dec 2.


There is growing interest in the long-term mental health sequelae of extremely preterm birth. In this paper we review literature relating to mental health outcomes across the lifespan. Studies conducted in the preschool years, school age and adolescence, and adulthood show continuity in outcomes and point to an increased risk for inattention, socio-communicative problems and emotional difficulties in individuals born extremely preterm. Both behavioural and neuroimaging studies also provide evidence of a neurodevelopmental origin for mental health disorders in this population. Here we summarise contemporary evidence and highlight key methodological considerations for carrying out and interpreting studies in this field.

Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Autism spectrum disorders; Comorbidity; Mental health; Outcomes; Preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mental Health
  • Risk Factors