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Boys born small for gestational age may be at an increased risk of symptoms of depression and anxiety during adolescence if exposed to chronic stress

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Question: Are adolescents who were born small or large for gestational age more likely to suffer symptoms of depression in response to stressful life events than adolescents born the appropriate size for gestational age?

People: In total, 3732 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth who were assessed for depression and anxiety in 2006−2007 and who had birth weight data available at the start of the study, in 1994−1995.

Setting: Canada; 1994−2007.

Risk factors: Size for gestational age. Small for gestational age babies were defined as babies with birth weights in the bottom 10% of Canadian sex-specific standards for weight for each week of gestational age. Large for gestational age babies had birth weights in the top 10%.

Outcomes: Depression and anxiety symptoms when children were aged between 12 and 15 years old. Symptoms were assessed using seven items from the Ontario Child Health Study, derived from the Child Behaviour Checklist. Exposure …

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  • Sources of funding Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the Canadian Research Chairs program and the Canadian Institutes of Health.


  • Competing interests None.