Celiac Disease Is Associated with Childhood Psychiatric Disorders: A Population-Based Study

J Pediatr. 2017 May:184:87-93.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.01.043. Epub 2017 Mar 7.


Objectives: To determine the risk of future childhood psychiatric disorders in celiac disease, assess the association between previous psychiatric disorders and celiac disease in children, and investigate the risk of childhood psychiatric disorders in siblings of celiac disease probands.

Study design: This was a nationwide registry-based matched cohort study in Sweden with 10 903 children (aged <18 years) with celiac disease and 12 710 of their siblings. We assessed the risk of childhood psychiatric disorders (any psychiatric disorder, psychotic disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder, psychoactive substance misuse, behavioral disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism spectrum disorder [ASD], and intellectual disability). HRs of future psychiatric disorders in children with celiac disease and their siblings was estimated by Cox regression. The association between previous diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder and current celiac disease was assessed using logistic regression.

Results: Compared with the general population, children with celiac disease had a 1.4-fold greater risk of future psychiatric disorders. Childhood celiac disease was identified as a risk factor for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, ASD, and intellectual disability. In addition, a previous diagnosis of a mood, eating, or behavioral disorder was more common before the diagnosis of celiac disease. In contrast, siblings of celiac disease probands were at no increased risk of any of the investigated psychiatric disorders.

Conclusions: Children with celiac disease are at increased risk for most psychiatric disorders, apparently owing to the biological and/or psychological effects of celiac disease.

Keywords: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; autism; celiac disease; psychiatric disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sweden