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Reduced gestational age associated with an increased likelihood of depression in later life

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Katri Raikkonen

Correspondence to: Katri Raikkonen, University of Helsinki, PO Box 9, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland



Are gestational age and low birth weight associated with depressive symptoms in adult life?


752 women and 619 men who were born at full term (gestational age 259–294 days), selected from a larger random sample of all those born at Helsinki University Central Hospital in 1934–44 for whom birth and child welfare records were available and who could be identified by personal ID numbers in Finland in 1971.


Community setting in Finland; cohort born 1934–44, date of analyses not reported.

Risk factors:

Length of gestation, birth weight, newborn length and head circumference from birth records. Father’s occupation was also extracted to determine social class. Analyses of the effect of body size were adjusted for gender and length of gestation, and analyses of length of gestation adjusted for gender and birth weight. Analyses also adjusted for other potential confounders.


Depressive symptom score of ⩾10 on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; higher score indicates more severe symptoms) or ⩾16 on the Center …

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  • Source of funding: Academy of Finland, University of Helsinki, British Heart Foundation, Finnish Foundation of Cardiovascular Research, Finnish Diabetes Research Foundation, Finnish Medical Society, Finska Lakaresallskapet, Paivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation, Juho Vainio Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation and Finnish Foundation for Paediatric Research.


  • Competing interests: None.

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