Skip to main content

18-10-2012 | Mental health | Article

Advanced adoptive paternal age not linked to schizophrenia risk


Free full text

medwireNews: Swedish researchers have found no evidence to suggest that advanced adoptive paternal age is associated with an increased risk for schizophrenia in adoptees.

The findings, published in PLoS One, contrast with those from studies conducted in biologic fathers, which found that advanced paternal age was significantly associated with an increased risk for the mental health disorder in offspring.

"As the first study of this specific issue, we have shown that there is no support of psychosocial environmental factors explaining the so called 'paternal age effect' [in schizophrenia risk]," comment Mats Ek and team from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The researchers searched the Swedish Multi-Generation Register and identified 31,188 children adopted by Swedish families between 1955 and 1985.

Using the National Patient Register, they found that 371 of these adoptees were diagnosed with schizophrenia or other types of non-affective psychosis between 1973 and 2006.

The team found that greater adoptive paternal age was not significantly associated with an increased risk for schizophrenia or non-affective psychosis in adoptees.

On the contrary, there appeared to be a reduced risk for non-affective psychosis in adoptees with adoptive fathers who were aged 35-39 years at the time of birth compared with those whose adoptive fathers were aged 30-34 years, at an odds ratio of 0.7.

Ek et al conclude: "This study shows that advancing adoptive paternal age did not increase adopted children's risk of developing schizophrenia or non-affective psychosis."

"However, further studies are needed to rule this out."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Related topics