Social functioning in adults born very preterm: Individual participant meta-analysis

Yanyan Ni, Marina Mendonça, Nicole Baumann, Robert Eves, Eero Kajantie, Petteri Hovi, Marjaana Tikanmaki, Katri Raikkonen, Kati Heinonen, Marit S. Indredavik, Kari Anne I. Evensen, Samantha Johnson, Neil Marlow, Dieter Wolke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review


CONTEXT: There is a lack of research on individual perceptions of social experiences and social relationships among very preterm (VP) adults compared with term-born peers. OBJECTIVE: To investigate self-perceived social functioning in adults born VP (<32 weeks’ gestation) and/or with very low birth weight (VLBW) (<1500g) compared with term-born adults ($37 weeks’ gestation) using an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES: Two international consortia: Research on European Children and Adults born Preterm and Adults Born Preterm International Collaboration. STUDY SELECTION: Cohorts with outcomes assessed by using the Adult Self-Report Adaptive Functioning scales (friends, spouse/partner, family, job, and education) in both groups. DATA EXTRACTION: IPD from 5 eligible cohorts were collected. Raw-sum scores for each scale were standardized as z scores by using mean and SD of controls for each cohort. Pooled effect size was measured by difference (D) in means between groups. RESULTS: One-stage analyses (1285 participants) revealed significantly lower scores for relationships with friends in VP/VLBW adults compared with controls (D -0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.61 to -0.13). Differences were similar after adjusting for sex, age, and socioeconomic status (D -0.39, 95% CI: -0.63 to -0.15) and after excluding participants with neurosensory impairment (D -0.34, 95% CI: -0.61 to -0.07). No significant differences were found in other domains. LIMITATIONS: Generalizability of research findings to VP survivors born in recent decades. CONCLUSIONS: VP/VLBW adults scored their relationship with friends lower but perceived their family and partner relationships, as well as work and educational experiences, as comparable to those of controls.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021051986
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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