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The World Health Organization defines preterm born babies as those who were born before the completed 37th week of pregnancy. A normative pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks. According to the gestational age, preterm born children can be divided into:
• Extremely preterm (< 28 weeks)
• Very preterm (28 to < 32 weeks)
• Moderate to late preterm (32 to < 37 weeks)

Source: WHO. Retrieved from

Very low birth weight:

Very low birth weight concerns those babies that weighted less than 1,500 grams at birth. Very low birth weight is typically associated with preterm birth or small size for gestational age, or both.

Source: WHO. Retrieved from

Risk factor:

Defined as a “characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of problem outcomes (O’Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009, p. xxviii).” The presence or absence of risk factors contributes to a variety of outcomes, including subjective wellbeing and mental health. According to WHO (2012), risk factors can manifest at all stages of life from pre-conception to late adulthood, and can include foetal exposure to drugs and tobacco during pregnancy, low self-esteem, poor physical health, experiencing peer rejection, being subjected to poor parenting practices, or experiencing social injustice. Identifying risk factors for specific life outcomes enables the design of interventions that counteract these risk factors’ effects, fostering better life outcomes among the targeted population.

1. O’Connell, M. E., Boat, T., & Warner, K. E. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
2. WHO (2012). Risks to mental health: An overview of vulnerabilities and risk factors.

Retrieved from


According to the American Psychological Association, “resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences”.

Source: APA. Retrieved from

Resilience factor:

The characteristic of resilience allows individuals to adapt better to or cope more efficiently with stress related to personal life adversity. The presence of resilience factors in an individual’s internal environment (biological and psychological factors) and their social and physical environment (family and community factors) encourages the development of resilience.

1. APA. Retrieved from;
2. O’Connell, M. E., Boat, T., & Warner, K. E. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Protective factor:

This is “a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, or community (including peers and culture) level that is associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or that reduces the negative impact of a risk factor on problem outcomes (O’Connell, Boat, & Warner, 2009, p. xxvii).” Protective outcomes can include normative physical development, family or/and peer support, or opportunities for engagement in different social contexts.

Source: O’Connell, M. E., Boat, T., & Warner, K. E. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

GINI index:

Developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini in 1912, the Gini index (also referred to as the Gini coefficient) measures the inequality of income (most often) or wealth (less commonly) among a nation's residents. The index ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 reflecting perfect equality and 1 reflecting perfect inequality. It is the most commonly used measurement of inequality worldwide.

1. BusinessDictionary. Retrieved from
2. Investopedia. Retrieved from

Social mobility:

In economics, a process of movement of individuals, families, or groups over time between social classes that constitute a system of social hierarchy in a given society. A change of social class as a result of such a movement is referred to as either “upward mobility” (moving upward in the class system) or “downward mobility” (moving downward in the class system). The attributes that are a prerequisite for upward or downward mobility are specific to each society and can involve, for instance, economic or/and educational gain versus loss.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from
2. Grusky, D. B., & Cumberworth, E. (2010). A national protocol for measuring intergenerational mobility.

Retrieved from:

Cross-country differences:

The differences in countries’ systems can be observed from many indicators. While the PremLife project’s participating countries of Finland, Germany, and the UK are rather similar to one another regarding their cultural background, they still differ substantially on some socio-economic indicators, including income inequality, development of the welfare state and schooling system. While the Gini indices in Germany (31.7) and the UK (33.2) are rather similar reflecting a comparable income inequality among the residents of these two countries, Finland exhibits less income inequality among her residents (27.1) than Germany or the UK (Word Bank, 2015). As regards the welfare state, the percentage of people who receive direct (welfare benefits) or indirect support from the state (via free access to primary, secondary, and tertiary education, free health care, subsidised infant/preschool day-care) in Finland is higher as compared to Germany or the UK. Since access to free education and health is guaranteed in all three countries, the differences in the reception of welfare benefits mostly concern subsidised infant and preschool day care and financial support for students in tertiary education. One of the differences in the schooling system between the countries participating in the PremLife project concerns the timing of school track (academic versus vocational) choice. While in all the three countries different academic outcomes are related to different school track choices among pupils, the timing of making these choices in Finland, Germany, and the UK differs substantially. While in Finland and the UK pupils enjoy longer joint school time (up to adolescence) regardless of their academic outcomes, in most German Federal States pupils are channelled into academic versus vocational tracks at the age of 10 years. Another cross-country difference in the schooling system between the three participating countries is the number of students in private education, which in the UK (primary school: 6.5 %; secondary school: 18 %; Independent School Council, 2018) seems to be considerably higher than either in Germany or Finland.

1. World Bank (2015). Retrieved from
2. Independent School Council (2018). Retrieved from
3. OECD (2012). Public and private schools: How management and funding relate to their socio-economic profile. Retrieved from

Social science:

According to the Merriam-Webster definition, social sciences are “a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society”. Social sciences comprise different fields including economics, political science, sociology or anthropology.

Source: Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from

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