Long-term follow-up of mental health, health-related quality of life and associations with motor skills in young adults born preterm with very low birth weight
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes 2016 10.1186/s12955-016-0458-y
Background: Being born with very low birth weight(VLBW:≤1500 g) is related to long-term disability and neurodevelopmental problems, possibly affecting mental health and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). However, studies in young adulthood yield mixed findings. The aim of this study was to examine mental health and HRQoL at 23 years, including changes from20 to 23 years and associations with motor skills in VLBW young adults compared with controls. Methods: In a geographically based follow-up study, 35 VLBW and 37 term-born young adults were assessed at 23 years by using Achenbach Adult Self-Report (ASR), Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and various motor tests. The ASR and SF-36 were also used at 20 years. Longitudinal changes in ASR and SF-36 from 20 to 23 years were analysed by linear mixed models and associations with motor skills at 23 years by linear regression. Results: At 23 years, total ASR score was 38.6 (SD: 21.7) in the VLBW group compared with 29.0 (SD: 18.6) in the control group (p= 0.048). VLBW participants had higher scores for attention problems, internalizing problems and critical items, and they reported to drink less alcohol than controls. BDI total score did not differ between groups. On SF-36, VLBW participants reported significantly poorer physical and social functioning, more role-limitations due to physical and emotional problems, more bodily pain and lower physical and mental component summaries than controls. In the VLBW group, total ASR score increased by 9.0 (95 % CI: 3.3 to 14.7) points from 20 to 23 years (p=0.009vscontrols), physical and mental component summaries of SF-36 decreased by 2.9 (95 % CI: -4.8 to -1.1) and 4.4 (95 % CI: -7.1 to -1.7) points, respectively (p= 0.012 andp= 0.022 vs controls). Among VLBW participants, more mental health problems and lower physical and mental HRQoL were associated with poorer motor skills at 23 years. Conclusions: VLBW young adults reported poorer and declining mental health and HRQoL in the transitional phase into adulthood. They seemed to have a cautious lifestyle with more internalizing problems and less alcohol use. The associations of mental health problems and HRQoL with motor skills are likely to reflect a shared aetiology.