Adverse Perinatal Conditions Increase the Risk of Using Disability Pension Early in Life

Fredinah Namatovu , Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Umeå University
Erling Häggström Lundevaller, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Umeå University
Lotta Vikström, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), Umeå University
Nawi Ng, Umeå University

Objective: The number of young adults on disability pension is increasing in European raising questions on the related risk factors. This study aims to investigate whether adverse perinatal conditions are associated with receiving a disability pension early in life. Methods: The study consisted of 453,223 individuals born in Sweden in 1973–1977, observed at ages 16–37 from 1991 through 2010. We used logistic regression to assess the association between perinatal health conditions and receiving a disability pension, adjusting for maternal education and the sex of the child. Results: New recipients of disability pension were significantly more likely to have a birth defect (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 6.63, 95% CI: 5.98 -7.34), and be small for gestational age (AOR 2.24, 95% CI: 2.17–2.85). Women had lower odds of receiving a disability pension at ages 16 to 18, however, this reversed from age 19 and upwards. Persons with higher maternal education were less likely to receive a disability pension compared to persons with <=9 years of maternal education level. Conclusion: Having a birth defect was the strongest indicator of receiving a disability pension during early adulthood, followed by small for gestational age, and low Apgar score. Our findings suggest that policies and programs geared at promoting optimal health at birth might improve overall health over the lifespan, contributing to a reduction in receiving early disability pensions, and dependence on health services and social welfare.

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 Presented in Session 85. Early Life Conditions and Health