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Low birth weight and features of neuroticism and mood disorder in 83 545 participants of the UK Biobank cohort

  • Donald M. Lyall (a1), Hazel M. Inskip (a2), Daniel Mackay (a1), Ian J. Deary (a3), Andrew M. McIntosh (a4), Matthew Hotopf (a5), Tony Kendrick (a6), Jill P. Pell (a1) and Daniel J. Smith (a1)...
Abstract
Background

Low birth weight has been inconsistently associated with risk of developing affective disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD). To date, studies investigating possible associations between birth weight and bipolar disorder (BD), or personality traits known to predispose to affective disorders such as neuroticism, have not been conducted in large cohorts.

Aims

To assess whether very low birth weight (<1500 g) and low birth weight (1500–2490 g) were associated with higher neuroticism scores assessed in middle age, and lifetime history of either MDD or BD. We controlled for possible confounding factors.

Method

Retrospective cohort study using baseline data on the 83 545 UK Biobank participants with detailed mental health and birth weight data. Main outcomes were prevalent MDD and BD, and neuroticism assessed using the Eysenck Personality Inventory Neuroticism scale - Revised (EPIN-R)

Results

Referent to normal birth weight, very low/low birth weight were associated with higher neuroticism scores, increased MDD and BD. The associations between birth weight category and MDD were partially mediated by higher neuroticism.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that intrauterine programming may play a role in lifetime vulnerability to affective disorders.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Corresponding author
Donald M. Lyall, 1 Lilybank Gardens, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK. Email: Donald.Lyall@glasgow.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Low birth weight and features of neuroticism and mood disorder in 83 545 participants of the UK Biobank cohort

  • Donald M. Lyall (a1), Hazel M. Inskip (a2), Daniel Mackay (a1), Ian J. Deary (a3), Andrew M. McIntosh (a4), Matthew Hotopf (a5), Tony Kendrick (a6), Jill P. Pell (a1) and Daniel J. Smith (a1)...
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