Background: Exposure to parental chronic illness is associated with adverse developmental outcomes.
Objective: We examined the association between parental multiple sclerosis (MS) and parental MS-related clinical factors on developmental health.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study in British Columbia, Canada, using linked health databases. The outcome was childhood development at 5 years of age, expressed as vulnerability on the Early Development Instrument (EDI). Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Results: MS-affected parents (n = 783) were older, more likely to be English speakers, and had higher rates of mental health morbidity (39.6% vs 22.2%, p < 0.001) than unaffected parents (n = 2988). In the adjusted models, children of mothers with MS (aOR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.44-0.87), but not children of the fathers with MS, had a lower risk of vulnerability on the social development domain of the EDI. However, mental health comorbidity (aOR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.05-2.50) and physical comorbidity (aOR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.05-2.64) among mothers with MS were associated with increased vulnerability on the EDI.
Conclusion: Maternal MS, but not paternal MS, was associated with lower rates of developmental vulnerability on the social development domain. However, mental and physical comorbidity among MS-affected mothers were associated with increased developmental vulnerability in children.
Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; anxiety; child development; cohort studies; depression.
© The Author(s), 2015.