Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Behavioral and emotional adjustment of teenagers in mainstream school who were born before 29 weeks' gestation

Lookup NU author(s): Unni Wariyar OBE


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Objectives. To investigate behavioral and emotional problems and positive adjustment of 15- to 16-year-olds who were born at extremely low gestational age (ELGA), from the perspective of parents, teachers, and teenagers. Methods. Prospective follow-up was conducted of birth cohorts, with classroom control subjects. All infants who were born before 29 weeks in 1983-1984 (mean gestational age: 27 weeks) to mothers who resided in 3 regions of the United Kingdom were studied. A total of 82% (179 of 218) of survivors were traced at age 15 to 16. The 150 in mainstream school were compared with age- and gender-matched classroom control subjects (n=108). Behavioral and emotional problems, delinquency, peer relations, self-esteem, and hobbies, were assessed by standardized, well-validated instruments, including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, administered by mail to parents, teenagers, and teachers. Results. Parents were more likely to rate ELGA teenagers than control subjects as in the "abnormal" range for hyperactivity (8% vs 1%; difference: 7%; (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2-12), peer relationship problems (19% vs 5%; difference: 14%; 95% CI: 6-21), and emotional problems (18% vs 7%; difference: 11%; 95% CI: 3-19), but not conduct problems (10% vs 5%; difference: 5%; 95% CI: -1 to 12)). Teachers reported a similar pattern. In contrast, compared with control subjects, ELGA teenagers did not rate themselves as having more problems with peers, hyperactivity, conduct, depression, or low self-esteem. They reported more emotional problems but less delinquency, alcohol, cannabis, and other drug use. Conclusions. Compared with mainstream classmates, children who are born extremely early continue to have higher levels of parent- and teacher-reported emotional, attentional, and peer problems well into their teens. However, despite these problems, they do not show signs of more serious conduct disorders, delinquency, drug use, or depression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gardner F, Johnson A, Yudkin P, Bowler U, Hockley C, Mutch L, Wariyar U, ELGA Steering Grp

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pediatrics

Year: 2004

Volume: 114

Issue: 3

Pages: 676-682

ISSN (print): 0031-4005

ISSN (electronic): 1098-4275

Publisher: American Academy of Pediatrics


DOI: 10.1542/peds.2003-0763-L


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric