Subjective Well-Being and Self-Esteem in Preterm Born Adolescents: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2021 Oct-Nov;42(8):613-620. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000947.


Objective: To study self-reported well-being and self-esteem among adolescents born very preterm (VPT; <32 wk of gestation) and moderate to late preterm (MLPT; 32-36 wk of gestation) compared with those born full-term (FT) in an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis.

Methods: We obtained IPD from the following 4 data sources: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (United Kingdom), the Millennium Cohort Study (United Kingdom), the Basel Study of Preterm Children (Switzerland), and the Bavarian Longitudinal Study (Germany) and conducted two-step random-effects IPD meta-analysis. A total of 986 MLPT, 412 VPT, and 12,719 FT born adolescents reported on subjective well-being and 927 MLPT, 175 VPT, and 13,312 FT born adolescents reported on global self-esteem.

Results: Adolescents born VPT or MLPT were not different from those born FT regarding general subjective well-being; family, school, and physical appearance-related well-being; and global self-esteem. However, adolescents born VPT reported lower well-being in peer relationships than those born FT (β = -0.209, 95% confidence interval = -0.336 to -0.082). There was no main effect of fetal growth restriction (FGR) and no moderation by FGR, sex, parental education, and ethnicity. No significant heterogeneity between cohorts was found, although some heterogeneity estimates were moderate.

Conclusion: Adolescents born preterm mostly report no lower well-being and self-esteem than adolescents born FT. However, they perceive their peer relationships as poorer than those born FT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Germany
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parents*