Effect of Low Birth Weight and Gender on the Need for Adult Psychiatric Hospitalization
Manzardo, Ann M.
University of Kansas
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Background: Low birth weight is associated with increased rates of psychiatric symptomology in childhood but less is known about the risk of adult psychiatric hospitalization. The primary objective of this study is to examine the relationship between low birth weight (Method: Subjects were born at the Copenhagen University Hospital between 1959 and 1961 (N=9,125). A comprehensive series of measures were obtained for each of the 8,109 surviving and eligible infants at the time of birth. Lifetime psychiatric outcomes were defined as any ICD 10 group F diagnosis (Mental and Behavioral Disorders) or an equivalent ICD 8 diagnosis found in the Danish Central Psychiatric Register by 2007. Bivariate analyses stratified by gender are used to compare the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses among low birth weight infants. Logistic regression models examine the relationship between low birth weight and alcoholism while adjusting for comorbid psychiatric illness. Results: For males and not for females, low birth weight is associated with an overall increased rate of lifetime psychiatric hospitalization and the specific risk of the development of alcoholism, anxiety, and personality disorders. The association between low birth weight and male alcoholism is retained after sequential logistic regression modeling with low birth weight adjusted for social class and other comorbid psychiatric illness. Conclusions: The results support our previous findings that low birth weight is associated with the increased prevalence of adult psychiatric illness. Selective gender effects suggest the greater likelihood of psychopathology among low birth weight males than females, especially for alcoholism.
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