Paternal age and risk of autism in an ethnically diverse, non-industrialized setting: Aruba

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45090. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045090. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine paternal age in relation to risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in a setting other than the industrialized west.

Design: A case-control study of Aruban-born children (1990-2003). Cases (N = 95) were identified at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, the only such clinic in Aruba; gender and age matched controls (N = 347) were gathered from public health records. Parental age was defined categorically (≤ 29, 30-39, 40-49, ≥ 50 y). The analysis was made, using conditional logistic regression.

Results: Advanced paternal age was associated with increased risk of ASDs in offspring. In comparison to the youngest paternal age group (≤ 29 y), risk of autism increased 2.18 times for children born from fathers in their thirties, 2.71 times for fathers in their forties, and 3.22 thereafter.

Conclusion: This study, part of the first epidemiologic study of autism in the Caribbean, contributes additional evidence, from a distinctive sociocultural setting, of the risk of ASD associated with increased paternal age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Autistic Disorder / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, South American
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / ethnology
  • Paternal Age*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / ethnology
  • West Indies / epidemiology

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.