Study Examines Association Between Birth Weight, Risk of Developing Psychiatric Disorders in Adulthood

JAMA Psychiatry


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Erik Pettersson, Ph.D., email The full study is linked to this news release.

Want to embed a link to this study in your story? This full-text link will be live at the embargo time


Bottom Line: It is unclear if the associations between fetal growth as indicated by birth weight and later mental health conditions remain after taking into account family-related factors that could affect these conditions. This study included more than 500,000 pairs of siblings who were part of a register in Sweden since birth and were followed up to an average age of 27 years. After controlling for family-related factors that could influence the outcomes, lower birth weight (adjusted for gestational age) was associated with a small but significant increased risk for several psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. A potential limitation of the study is that the registers only included individuals with more severe forms of these conditions.

Authors: Erik Pettersson, Ph.D., Karolinska lnstitutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and coauthors



Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

#  #  #

For more information, contact JAMA Network Media Relations at 312-464-JAMA (5262) or email