Scientists have long believed that since schizophrenia is associated with abnormal brain structure and functioning that a mothers’ stress during pregnancy could adversely affect brain development in the fetus, even causing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Now there is strong evidence to support these assumptions. According to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry, people born to a mother who experienced the death of a relative during the first trimester of pregnancy have a 67% greater risk of developing schizophrenia.

The researchers looked at data from 1.38 million births in order to study the effects of highly stressful situations during pregnancy on the development of mental illness. Of these 1.38 million, 21,987 of the children were born to mothers who experienced the death of a relative during the first trimester of pregnancy and 14, 206 children were born to mothers who experienced a relative having a serious illness such as cancer. Of the 1.38 million, 7,331 of the children went on to develop schizophrenia. The study went on to say “the association between a family death and risk of schizophrenia appeared to be significant only for individuals without a family history (parents, grandparents or siblings) of mental illness”. In addition, the death of relative at six months before or any other time during pregnancy was not found to be related to the development of schizophrenia in offspring.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 2 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Feb 2008
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Bechdel, J. (2008). Stress Levels in Pregnant Women affect development of Schizophrenia in offspring. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 1, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/02/17/stress-levels-in-pregnant-women-affects-development-of-schizophrenia-in-offspring/

 

Recent Comments
  • Matt K: Hope your doing better Sean I see that post was a long time ago.
  • Matt K: This is the best article I’ve read so far on this topic. I appreciate someone finally saying the truth...
  • Jill: I am everything! ADHD, bipolar ,shizophrenia, hsp, autism, borderline ,narcissistic, psychotic and suicidal..I...
  • Marty: Thank you for this Dr. Grohol. It helps to explain why I have low self-esteem and became a recluse. M~
  • Lesley: Can introverts be leaders? I certainly hope so since we comprise 50% of the general population in North...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 15194
Join Us Now!