Both Older and Younger Parental Age Linked to Mental Health

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Recent research has focused on a seemingly high rate of psychiatric disorders in the offspring of older fathers.  New research in JAMA Psychiatry, using data drawn from nearly 3 million people (totaling 42.7 million person-years) in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, finds that the offspring of both older and younger parents (below 25 and above 29 years) were at increased risk of mental health diagnoses.

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Of note:

The article further specifies that the offspring of older fathers were at an increased risk of schizophrenia and related diagnoses, mental retardation, and autism spectrum disorders, which the offspring of young mothers (and to a lesser extent young fathers) were at an increased risk for substance use disorders, hyperkinetic disorders, and mental retardation.

McGrath, J., Peterson, L., Agerbo, E., Mors, O., et al.; A Comprehensive Assessment of Parental Age and Psychiatric Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. Online January 22, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4081

 

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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