Earlier today we reported on new research that shows a link between a parent’s mental health and an increase in the likelihood of having a child develop autism. The research examined Swedish hospital records of children born between 1977 and 2003 who were diagnosed with autism and compared them with children who were not diagnosed with autism.
Then the researchers looked at the rates of psychiatric hospitalizations of either parents between the two groups.
The researchers found that mothers and fathers diagnosed with schizophrenia were about twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism. They also found higher rates of depression and personality disorders among mothers, but not fathers.
Knowing whether autism might be more prevalent in families with a history of psychiatric problems could better inform future prevention efforts. Whether the link is passed via the environment (e.g., through the family child-rearing environment) or through genetics, or a combination of the two.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 May 2008
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2008). A Link Between Parents’ Mental Health and Autism. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/05/05/a-link-between-parents-mental-health-and-autism/