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Preterm birth and adult wealth: mathematics skills count

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posted on 19.08.2015 by Maartje Basten, Julia Jaekel, Samantha Johnson, Camilla Gilmore, Dieter Wolke
Each year, 15 million babies are born preterm worldwide. Preterm birth is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes across the lifespan. Recent registry-based studies suggest that preterm birth is associated with lower wealth in adulthood, but the mediating mechanisms are unknown. This study investigated whether the relationship between preterm birth and low adult wealth is mediated by poor academic abilities and educational qualifications. Participants were members of two British population-based birth cohorts born in 1958 and 1970. Results showed that preterm birth was associated with decreased wealth at 42 years of age. This association was mediated by poorer intelligence, reading and, in particular, mathematics attainment in middle childhood, and lower educational qualifications in young adulthood. Findings were similar in both cohorts, suggesting that these mechanisms may be time invariant. Special educational support in childhood may prevent preterm children from becoming less wealthy as adults.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Psychological Science

Citation

BASTEN, M. ... et al, 2015. Preterm birth and adult wealth: mathematics skills count. Psychological Science, 26 (10), pp.1608-1619.

Publisher

Sage, on behalf of The Association for Psychological Science (© The authors)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science and the definitive version is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797615596230

ISSN

0956-7976

eISSN

1467-9280

Language

en

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