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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2009;10(4 Pt 2):518-23. doi: 10.1080/15622970802653691.

Paternal age and common mental disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, Penang Medical College, Penang, Malaysia.



There is evidence in the literature that there are associations between advancing paternal age and psychosis or more specifically schizophrenia, but not enough to support a strong link between advancing paternal age and common mental disorders.


This study aims to explain the association between paternal age at birth and common mental disorders in progeny during their adulthood.


This is a sub-study from a larger survey which was planned to study the epidemiology of mental disorders in Malaysia. Respondents who could remember the age of parents at birth were included in the study. The diagnosis of common mental disorders (CMD) was made using the CIS-R (Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised) instrument in the PROQSY (Programmed Questionnaire System) format. Association between paternal age at birth and CMD was studied using logistic regression, after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity and presence of family history of mental disorders.


Respondents with paternal age at birth of 19 and below and 50 above and had higher rates of 10 and 25% for common mental disorders (chi(2)=7.007, P=0.072) with odds ratios of 2.89 (95% CI of OR = 1.1-7.6) and 4.28 (1.4-12.7).


Progenies of fathers under 20 and over 50 had higher risk for mental disorders. Factors such as immaturity in sperm of teenage fathers, mutation in germ line of older fathers, environmental and psychosocial factors could have contributed to increased prevalence of common mental disorders in the progeny.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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