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.