Background: Low birth weight and unfavourable intrauterine conditions are associated with long-term effects on life. The influence of intrauterine conditions on personality might be underestimated.
Objective and hypotheses: In a longitudinal study we followed genetically identical twins with intra-twin birth-weight (bw) differences due to twintwin transfusion syndrome (ttts) from birth until puberty.
Method: 23 pairs of monozygotic twins with intra-twin bw-differences were seen at birth, 2.8 and 15.25 (during/post-puberty) years. Auxiological data were collected at all occasions; we differentiated between donators (lower birth weight) and acceptors (higher birth weight). Additionally at 15.25 years, two psychological questionnaires were issued: the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-self and -parent, Goodmann, 2000) and the Kidscreen-52 (Health Related Quality of Life, The Kidscreen Group Europe, 2006).
Results: Parents saw significantly more emotional problems and hyperactivity in donators (each P<0.05). In contrast to this, in self-assessment donators and acceptors did not report significant differences of their strength and difficulties. Similar, self-perceived quality of life in the two groups did not differ significantly. Differences in bw-SDS correlated significantly with differences regarding hyperactivity (self (r=0.91; P<0.01) and parents (r=0.93; P<0.001)), and external assessment of behavioural problems (parents, r=0.74; P<0.05). No significant correlations occurred between differences in twin pairs regarding height and weight-SDS and scores of SDQ-self/-parent and Kidscreen-52. Again, there were no significant correlations with quality of life.
Conclusion: Psychological data of adolescent monozygotic twins with ttts suggest that parents view the former smaller twin (the donator) to be more hyperactive and suffer from more emotional problems than the former larger co-twin (the acceptor). Quality of life appears to be unaffected by this. Differences in birth weight can predict intra-twin differences in personality.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology