Objectives: To examine very preterm (gestational ageat birth <32 weeks) and/or very low birth weight (birth weight <1500 g: VP/VLBW) adults’ personality and risk taking when compared with term controls. To investigate whether differences between VP/VLBW adults and controls remain after taking their general cognitive abilities into account. Design: The Bavarian Longitudinal Study is a geographically deﬁned prospective cohort study of neonatal at-risk children born in 1985/1986 in Germany. A total of 200 VP/VLBW and 197 controls completed main outcome measures including broad autism phenotype, personality traits (eg, introversion, neuroticism), and risk taking at 26 years of age. Results: When compared with term controls, VP/VLBW adults scored signiﬁcantly higher in autistic features, introversion and neuroticism but not in conscientiousness and closeness scales. They also reported lower risk taking. Proﬁle analysis showed higher introversion, autistic features and neuroticism and lower risk taking as unique features of VP/VLBW adults (Fwithin-group=0.81,ns; Fbetween-group=49.56, p<0.001). These characteristics were found to load onto a single proﬁle factor which was equivalent between the VP/VLBW and control samples (χ2=12.49, df=7, ns; comparative ﬁt index=0.98). VP/VLBW birth signiﬁcantly predicted the proﬁle factor (β=0.33, p<0.001) and explained 11% of its variance. Adjusting for general cognitive deﬁcits did not alter the ﬁndings. Conclusions: VP/VLBW birth poses an important riskfor a global withdrawn personality, as indicated by being less socially engaged (introversion), low in taking risks, poor in communication (autistic features) and easily worried (neuroticism). This proﬁle might help to explain the social difﬁculties VP/VLBW individuals experience in adult roles, such as in peer/partner relationships andcareer.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal and Neonatal Edition|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Jul 2015|