The present population-based, case-control study examines associations between specific parental psychiatric disorders and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including childhood autism, Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS). The cohort includes 4713 children born between 1987 and 2005 with diagnoses of childhood autism, Asperger's syndrome or PDD-NOS. Cases were ascertained from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register, and each was matched to four controls by gender, date of birth, place of birth, and residence in Finland. Controls were selected from the Finnish Medical Birth Register. Parents were identified through the Finnish Medical Birth Register and Finnish Central Population Register. Parental psychiatric diagnoses from inpatient care were collected from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register. Conditional logistic regression models were used to assess whether parents' psychiatric disorders predicted ASD after controlling for parents' age, smoking during pregnancy and weight for gestational age. In summary, parental schizophrenia spectrum disorders and affective disorders were associated with the risk of ASD regardless of the subgroup. PDD-NOS was associated with all parental psychiatric disorders investigated. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings. These results may facilitate the investigation of shared genetic and familial factors between ASD and other psychiatric disorders.
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