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Paternal age alters social development in offspring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number5
Early online date6 Mar 2017
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2017
DatePublished (current) - May 2017

Abstract

Objective: Advanced paternal age (APA) at conception has been linked with autism and schizophrenia in offspring, neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social functioning. The current study explored the effects of paternal age on social development in the general population.
Method: We used multilevel growth modelling to investigate APA effects on socioemotional development from early childhood until adolescence, as measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) sample. We also investigated genetic and environmental underpinnings of the paternal age effects on development, using ACE (Additive genetics, Common environment, unique Environment) and gene–environment (GxE) models.
Results: In the general population, both very young and advanced paternal ages were associated with altered trajectory of social development (intercept: p=.01; slope: p=.03). No other behavioural domain was affected by either young or advanced age at fatherhood, suggesting specificity of paternal age effects. Increased importance of genetic factors in social development was recorded in the offspring of older but not very young fathers, suggesting distinct underpinnings of the paternal age effects at these two extremes.
Conclusion: Our findings highlight that the APA-related deficits that lead to autism and schizophrenia are likely continuously distributed in the population.

    Research areas

  • advanced paternal age, social development, autism, schizophrenia, neurodevelopment

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Elsevier at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856717300709. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Elsevier at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856717300709. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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