The age of the father can influence the mental health of the child

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry states that children born to parents over the age of 45 have a higher risk of developing psychological disorders in the future.

The relationship between parental age and psychological disorders

The study confirms research from the past which claimed that there was a relationship between certain disorders such as autism and children born to elderly parents.

According to data published in this research, children of parents who have had their children over the age of 45 have a higher risk (up to 34%) of suffering from mental disorders such as bipolar or schizophrenia.

In addition, this study also confirms that, compared to the descendants of young parents, the descendants of parents over 45 years of age suffer more from educational problems: 1 under IQ, Low academic qualifications or low level of education.

The study was conducted between Indiana and Sweden

The research was conducted by Indiana University in the United States, in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The data used were taken from Swedish hospitals and medical records of births between 1973 and 2001. A total of 2.6 million participating subjects were counted.

The study compared data provided by children born to parents aged over 45 and data provided by descendants of parents aged 24 to 29.


This study is not the first to find an association between the advanced age of parents and their children’s mental health or educational problems.

The results of the sample of Swedish subjects seem to indicate that there are many psychiatric problems and learning difficulties that descendants of elderly parents can experience., Including: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Suicide Attempts, and Substance Abuse or Autism Problems.

Among the results obtained, we can underline that there is 3.5 times more risk of suffering from autism if parents are over 45 years old when their children are born, 2.5 times more risk for children to develop suicidal behavior or 13 times more likely to suffer from ADHD. .

the causes

Previous research has already indicated that the older uterus of a woman over 40 is a risk factor for her childrenBut this study seems to indicate that the sperm of the father over 45 years old can also lead to negative consequences for the further development of the child, i.e. the low sperm quality elderly parents can affect their children.

According to the researchers, men pass on a higher percentage of spontaneous (non-hereditary) mutations to their children that cause psychological problems and future learning disabilities. As a man ages, he is exposed to more environmental toxins which can lead to changes in the DNA of his sperm.

Spaniards are increasingly delaying the age of having children

The social conditions in which the population lives in Spain and the difficulties in leaving home and becoming independent before the age of 30, mean that the reproductive age of the Spaniards has changed in recent years, many parents have their first child after age 30.

Therefore, although the delay in childbearing age is considered normal, health professionals have sounded the alarm many times and point out that procreation at a late age has negative consequences for the child.

Bibliographical references:

  • JAMA Psychiatry. March 2014 ; 71 (3): 301-9. doi: 10.1001 / jamapsychiatry.2013.4081.

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