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Project Related Findings

Preterm birth and wealth in adulthood

research feature

In a meta-analysis, researchers from the University of Warwick have shown that adults who were born preterm hold lower educational qualifications, are less likely to be employed, and are more likely to receive social benefits than their peers born at term (Bilgin, Mendonca, & Wolke, 2018). Summarising the findings from 23 studies from across three continents with nearly 6 million participants, the findings were consistent between younger and older adults and between the geographic regions. However, adults who were born very preterm (< 32nd gestational week) hold lower educational qualifications than their peers born moderately to late preterm (32nd to 36th gestational week). Another study by PremLife team members showed that particularly math skills in adolescence were an important protective factor for the wealth among adults who were born preterm (Basten, Jaekel, Johnson, Gilmore, & Wolke, 2015).

Basten M, Jaekel J, Johnson S, Gilmore C, Wolke D. Preterm birth and adult wealth: mathematics skills count. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(10):1608–1619

Bilgin, A., Mendonca, M., & Wolke, D. (2018). Preterm Birth/Low Birth Weight and Markers Reflective of Wealth in Adulthood: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, e20173625.