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Maternal age at childbirth and risk for ADHD in offspring: a population-based cohort study
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
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2014 (English)In: International Journal of Epidemiology, ISSN 0300-5771, E-ISSN 1464-3685, Vol. 43, no 6, p. 1815-1824Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Women who give birth at younger ages (e.g. teenage mothers) are more likely to have children who exhibit behaviour problems, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it is not clear whether young maternal age is causally associated with poor offspring outcomes or confounded by familial factors.

Methods: The association between early maternal age at childbirth and offspring ADHD was studied using data from Swedish national registers. The sample included all children born in Sweden between 1988 and 2003 (N = 1 495 543), including 30 674 children with ADHD. We used sibling- and cousin-comparisons to control for unmeasured genetic and environmental confounding. Further, we used a children-of-siblings model to quantify the genetic and environmental contribution to the association between maternal age and offspring ADHD.

Results: Maternal age at first birth (MAFB) was associated with offspring ADHD. Teenage childbirth (<20 years) was associated with 78% increased risk of ADHD. The association attenuated in cousin-comparison, suggesting unmeasured familial confounding. The children-of-siblings model indicated that the association between MAFB and ADHD was mainly explained by genetic confounding.

Conclusions: All children born to mothers who bore their first child early in their reproductive lives were at increased risk of ADHD. The association was mainly explained by genetic factors transmitted from mothers to their offspring that contribute to both age at childbirth and ADHD in offspring. Our results highlight the importance of using family-based designs to understand how early life circumstances affect child development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2014. Vol. 43, no 6, p. 1815-1824
Keywords [en]
ADHD, maternal age, family-based design
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54618DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyu204ISI: 000348575500025PubMedID: 25355726Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84922345195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54618DiVA, id: diva2:1064457
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

Funding Agencies:

Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social And Medical Sciences (SIMSAM) 

Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research 

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 

Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, Henrik

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