A new study has found that babies with a very low birth weight may be at much higher risk of depression or other psychiatric conditions in adulthood, compared with those born a healthy weight.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics further said that steroid use just before birth may increase this risk even further.

The study was led by Dr. Ryan Van Lieshout, professor of psychiatry and neurosciences in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada.

It was found that the most common driver behind low birth weight is premature birth as well as fetal growth restriction and infection during pregnancy.

For the study,  Dr. Van Lieshout and his team analyzed the presence of psychiatric disorders among 84 adults who were born with extremely low birth weight (less than 1kg) and 90 adults who were born at normal birth weight.

All participants were born between 1977 and 1982 in Ontario, Canada, and were in their early 30s at the time of assessment.

After the study, researchers found that participants with extremely low birth weight were three times less likely to develop a substance or alcohol use disorder than those with a normal birth weight.