Study: Premature babies are often more anxious than adults

Study: Premature babies are often more anxious than adults

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Early birth obviously affects personality
Babies born prematurely often start life very bumpy. Because the immature organs and vessels usually require intensive medical care, which is very exhausting for little people. But even in later life, the former “premature babies” experience difficulties more often, e.g. by Difficulty in dealing with others or less likely to get a well-paid job. This is now confirmed by the results of a study by the University of Warwick.

Infections and diabetes increase the risk of premature birth
15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide each year. This emerges from the "Global Action Report on Preterm Birth 2012" of the World Health Organization (WHO). According to this, one in ten babies is affected, with that increasing in almost all countries. There are a number of reasons for premature birth, but the common causes, according to the WHO, are multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, pregnancy complications (placental insufficiency, gestosis, etc.), smoking or psychosocial factors such as chronic stress can be the trigger, in many cases no clear reason can be found.

Premature babies only weigh between 500 and 2,500 grams
Premature birth is usually spoken of if the baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy (SSW) and has thus spent less than 260 days in the womb. The so-called premature babies only weigh between 500 and 2,500 grams and therefore need intensive medical support, e.g. in the form of artificial respiration and nutrition. The start of life is therefore usually much more difficult for small people than for so-called "mature" babies, and it often takes weeks or even months before the children can finally be released home.

Researchers evaluate personality traits of 200 subjects
But the problems often don't stop there. Instead, prematurely born children apparently experience more difficult situations and setbacks later in life, e.g. by achieve lower educational qualifications or work in lower paid occupations. Researchers from the University of Warwick in England currently report this in the "Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition" of the "British Medical Journal". The scientists around the psychologist Dieter Wolke had evaluated the personality traits of 200 women and men for the "Bavarian longitudinal study" and recorded, among other things, the degree of anxiety, risk taking and open-mindedness.

All subjects were born between 1985 and 1986 before the end of the 32nd week of pregnancy and / or with a maximum weight of 1.5 kg. In addition, almost 200 comparative people who had seen the light of day at the same time “fully mature” were interviewed. The comparison revealed an interesting result, because in the former premature babies a socially withdrawn personality was significantly more common, which e.g. was indicated by introversion and reduced risk-taking, the researchers said.

Brains exposed to significantly more stress after birth
The differences could primarily be attributed to impaired brain development. Because the brains of premature babies are more stressed after birth because of the hard struggle for survival than that of mature children. In addition to this, early experienced tensions in the womb and “overprotective” parents could also be possible reasons for a later retired life, according to the Warwick University.

“Personality traits are very important because they help people slip into adult roles and develop and maintain social relationships. Adults who are born prematurely and have a very low birth weight and have a socially withdrawn personality could therefore experience difficulties in dealing with social relationships with colleagues, friends and partners, ”explains Dieter Wolke.

Higher risk of bullying and lower paid jobs
According to Cloud, previous studies have found that premature babies are also at higher risk of being bullied at school. In addition, it is less likely that a degree will be successfully completed and that well-paid employment will be achieved. Accordingly, it is important that targeted support takes place: "With early detection, parents can be supported with certain techniques that can promote their child's social skills and help compensate for the introverted personality traits," says Prof. Wolke. (No)

Author and source information

Video: The science of nurturing and its impact on premature babies


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