Preemies More Likely to Become Introverted Adults

preemieThink your personality is a product of your genes, your upbringing, maybe even your astrological sign? Well, a new study points to more surprising factors: Your birth circumstances -- for instance, prematurity or low birth weight -- impact your personality, too. 


To reach these conclusions, researchers administered personality tests to 200 adults who were born eight weeks earlier than their due date, then compared those results to others born to term of normal birth weight.

The results: People born early or of low birth weight were more likely than the others to be withdrawn, introverted, neurotic, disagreeable, and risk averse.

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As someone who was born premature weighing under three pounds, I can't say this new study is much of an ego boost! Nonetheless, it does help explain why I'd much rather hole up at home than go to a party, worry obsessively about what-ifs, and avoid gambling like the plague.

Researchers theorize that preemies and low birth weight babies may be prone to these personality traits due to the trauma of a long stay in NICU being poked with needles rather than lounging at home with their folks.

Plus, the researchers don't rule out the fact that parents of preemies may tend to be over-protective of these kids throughout their childhoods, subtly encouraging these kids to think of themselves and the world as a precarious place.

Which also totally jibes with my past: My mom treated me with kid gloves far more than my sister, who was born full-term and a healthy weight.

All told, though, the study does point out that premature birth only accounts for 11 percent of the personality results. So, while it's a sizable factor, it's by no means written in stone. But hopefully it may help explain a few things about yourself -- and your kids!


Image via Kristin Wheeler/shutterstock

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