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Research into personality of adults born prematurely published

28 July 2015
Premature baby in incubator

It has been reported in the news today (Monday 27 July 2015) that infants born prematurely or underweight are more likely to grow up to be introverted and socially withdrawn. (Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian, Times)

This is in response to a study carried by researchers at Warwick University, led by Professor Dieter Wolke. The study compared the personalities of 200 children born prematurely in Germany in 1986, with a similar number of those born at term. It found that the adults born prematurely or very underweight scored highly for displaying a socially withdrawn personality, indicated by autistic features, neuroticism, introversion and decreased risk taking.

Bliss Chief Executive Caroline Davey said: “Evidence shows that babies born very premature are at greater risk of behavioural and learning difficulties (EPICure). However, high levels of parental involvement in their care from birth onwards, including skin-to-skin contact, can help support healthy development.

It is important to note that there have been considerable medical advances in the care of very premature babies in the thirty years since those in this study were born.”

If you would like to read more about the study, you can visit the University of Warwick’s website:

If you would like help supporting your premature baby’s development, please call our helpline on 0808 801 0322 or visit our growing up pages.


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