Mood Disorders in Mothers of Children on the Autism Spectrum Are Associated with Higher Functioning Autism

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Vasa, Roma A. ; Anderson, Connie ; Marvin, Alison R. ; Rosenberg, Rebecca E. ; Law, J. Kiely ; Thorn, Julia ; Sarphare, Geeta ; Law, Paul A. (2012)
  • Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
  • Journal: Autism Research and Treatment, volume 2,012 (issn: 2090-1925, eissn: 2090-1933)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC3426171, doi: 10.1155/2012/435646
  • Subject: Research Article | Psychiatry | Article Subject | RC435-571
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities | mental disorders

Mood disorders occur more frequently in family members of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than in the general population. There may be associations between maternal mood disorder history patterns and specific ASD phenotypes. We therefore examined the relationship between maternal mood disorders and child autism spectrum disorders in 998 mother-child dyads enrolled in a national online autism registry and database. Mothers of children with ASD completed online questionnaires addressing their child’s ASD as well as their own mood disorder history. In multivariate logistic regression models of ASD diagnoses, the odds of an Asperger disorder versus autistic disorder diagnosis were higher among those children whose mothers had a lifetime history of bipolar disorder (OR 2.11, CI 1.20, 3.69) or depression (OR 1.62, CI 1.19, 2.19). Further, maternal mood disorder onset before first pregnancy was associated with higher odds (OR 2.35, CI 1.48, 3.73) of an Asperger versus autism diagnosis among this sample of children with ASD. These data suggest that differences in maternal mood disorder history may be associated with ASD phenotype in offspring.
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