Can Parental Psychiatric Disorders Influence the Risk of Autism in Offspring?

May 06, 2024

Study Shows 20% of Kids with ASD Had at Least One Parent with Psychiatric Disorders

In a recent cohort study published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, researchers from Sweden and Finland have investigated the potential link between parental psychiatric disorders and the risk of offspring developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Analyzing data from over 2.5 million children born in Sweden and Finland between 1997 and 2016, the study found that parental psychiatric disorders were associated with an increased risk of ASD in offspring.  Specifically, the study found that 20% of children with ASD had at least one parent with psychiatric disorders. The highest risk was observed when both parents had psychiatric disorders, followed by cases where only the mother or father was affected. The risk further increased with the presence of comorbid psychiatric disorders in parents. Notably, maternal diagnoses were associated with a higher risk of ASD, particularly in neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders, neurotic/behavioral disorders, and psychoactive substance use disorders. However, schizophrenia and non-mood psychotic disorders in either parent were found to increase the risk of offspring ASD equally. These findings underscore the importance of assessing parental psychiatric conditions to identify high-risk children for early interventions and improved outcomes in ASD management.

Original Article

Original Study

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