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Schizophr Res. 2011 Jul;129(2-3):128-32. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.03.021. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Paternal age and psychiatric disorders: findings from a Dutch population registry.

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  • 1Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.



We measured the association between paternal age and schizophrenia (SCZ), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BPD) in the Dutch population.


In total, 14231 patients and 56924 matched controls were collected and analyzed for an association with paternal age by logistic regression.


ASD is significantly associated with increased paternal age: Older fathers >40 years of age have a 3.3 times increased odds of having a child with ASD compared to young fathers <20 years of age. SCZ has significant associations for fathers aged >35 years (OR=1.27, 95% Confidence Interval: 1.05 and 1.53). For MDD, both younger and older fathers have increased odds. No association was found for BPD.


The effects of paternal age as a risk factor are different for ASD and SCZ on one hand, and the affective disorders on the other hand. Different types of association might indicate different biological or psychosocial mechanisms. Late paternity (associated with predispositions to psychiatric disorders) seems the most probable explanation for the association with paternal age.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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