Prematurity ‘Affects Personality’

Being born very premature can affect a child’s personality into adulthood, a study has suggested.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry studied 18 and 19-year-olds who had been born early, and compared them to those born at full-term.

Premature babies, particularly girls, were found to be more likely to be anxious and withdrawn, and potentially at a higher risk of depression.

“It’s possible that being born very small might be linked to some damage to the brain, possibly an infection.

“It might be that being in an incubator makes it difficult to bond with parents, and for them to bond with you.

“While another possibility is that personality is in the genes to some extent, so could be inherited to some degree.”

  1. Bryan K says:

    Well, now that makes a lot of sense. I was a ‘premie’ born very premature and to this day I’m thankful I’m alive as I spent a nice chunk of time in an incubator.

    Now, I’m 22 in college and find myself very withdrawn and unable to open up to new people unless I’ve known them for quite some time. I assumed that there was something wrong, now maybe I have something to look at.

  2. david says:

    Bryan, I was born postmaturely (at 10 months) and I am withdrawn and unable to open up to new people too. First step in anything is being aware. Second step is a desire to change. I am meeting more people today and talking more. I make many faux pas but if there is one thing I’ve learned, it is this: I have the right to be wrong. Plus, with so many people in a large city I can leave mistakes (and people) behind and learn from them and try again. That is what learning is all about. We live in a great nation where you will not be killed for making a mistake (don’t associate with gangsters, however, to be on the safe side). That we are safe from dying is an incredible achievement. Can you think what is was like living in Medevil times when a mistake could land a sword through your gut? Times have changed. No one carries a sidearm anymore. The only weapons used by the masses are words. Words don’t kill– unless YOU let them.

  3. estacado says:

    Another fellow premature here. Fairly withdrawn, but nothing chronic. Small talk puzzles me. Why do people need small talk. Just get to the point. Unless there is no underlaying point to get to, then small talk is fine. But small talk with strangers is hard, unless they have the same interests, then it’s less difficult. But getting to know their interests require small talk. I wish there was a rule that at the beginning of every small talk session, the two parties must outline their interest before starting it.

  4. Mr Fusion says:

    “Instead of attributing these findings exclusively to brain function, genetics or upbringing, we would like to see more research into the stress and trauma caused by the intensive care experience itself.

    In other words, the science is still out on the causes. The sample size might also cause some variability in the results.

    Besides, I wouldn’t start diagnosing myself for some hidden psychological trait until a little more is known about it.

  5. Bryan K says:

    Mr Fusion,

    I don’t think any one of us here is self diagnosing ourselves or really saying that being borm premature is the sole reason to blame for the way we handle various social situations.

    I myself was only commenting on how odd I found this as I am fairly withdrawn and also am a preemie. I for one am not a fan of over diagnoses and coming up with excuses for anything.

    And as far as the handguns thing … I wish no one carried a sidearm anymore

  6. Paul says:

    I was born at 32 weeks and spent 6 weeks in an incubator. Don’t think I’ve had any problems bonding with my parents. Spending my first 6 weeks surrounded by electronics might explain my love for computers though!

    I’m sure that being premature must have some long-term emotional effects but nothing more than the effects the other 16 or so years of development. An interesting study none the less.

  7. james c says:

    i was at the 6 month period. i have bad hand writing and stuff and i tend to be shy and dont show my affection for people who i care for like any other normal people.


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