Risk factors for emotional and behavioral problems in moderately-late preterms

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess which factors, including maternal, lifestyle, pregnancy- and delivery-related, fetal and neonatal factors adjusted for socio-economic status, are related to emotional and behavioral problems in moderately-late preterm born children (MLPs; gestational age 32.0-35.9 weeks) at 4 years of age. MLPs are at greater risk of emotional and behavioral problems than full-term born children. Especially for MLPs, knowledge about factors that increase or decrease the risk of emotional and behavioral problems is scarce.

DESIGN AND SETTING: We assessed emotional and behavioral problems in 809 MLPs between ages 41 and 49 months from the prospective community-based Longitudinal Preterm Outcome Project (LOLLIPOP), using the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). We collected potential risk factors from hospital records and parental questionnaires. Univariable and multiple logistic regression analyses were applied.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: (Sub)clinical CBCL scores.

RESULTS: Perinatal infection increased the risk of CBCL total problem scores with an OR 2.22 (p<0.01). Perinatal infection, maternal smoking, and male gender increased the risk of CBCL externalizing problem scores with ORs between 1.64 and 2.46 (all p<0.05). Multiple birth decreased the risk of CBCL internalizing problem scores with an OR 0.63 (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors for behavioral problems in MLPs are male gender, perinatal infection and maternal smoking, the latter two being potentially modifiable. Multiple birth is a protective factor for emotional problems in MLPs. These results suggest potential factors for targeting preventive intervention in MLPs, comprising the large majority of all preterm born children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0216468
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2-May-2019

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