Childhood motor coordination and adult psychopathology in extremely low birth weight survivors
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OBJECTIVE: To determine if childhood motor coordination is associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD), current generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adulthood, and to examine if extremely low birth weight (ELBW; <1000 g) status moderates the strength of these associations. METHOD: Prospective study of a cohort of normal birth weight (NBW) controls and ELBW survivors. Participants completed the short form Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOTMP-SF) at age 8. At age 29-36, participants completed the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview to diagnose the psychiatric disorders of interest. RESULTS: Birth weight status significantly influenced the strength and direction of associations between childhood motor coordination and adult psychiatric outcomes such that the odds of MDD (Pinteraction=.02) and GAD (Pinteraction=.01) increased with worsening motor scores in NBW adults but not ELBW survivors. Stratified analyses indicated that in NBW adults, for each one-point decrease in BOTMP-SF score, the odds of lifetime MDD increased by 10% (OR=1.10, 95% CI: 1.01-1.20). LIMITATIONS: Participant attrition reduced sample size and that may have limited our ability to detect statistically significant results for some of our analyses. CONCLUSION: Poorer motor coordination in early life has a negative long-term impact on the development of MDD and GAD of individuals born at NBW. The long-term mental health risks of childhood motor coordination problems are significant and highlight the importance of recognizing motor deficits in all children, so that associated psychological difficulties can be identified and treated at an early age.
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