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The impact of parental psychopathology and sociodemographic factors in selective mutism - a nationwide population-based study


Koskela, Miina; Chudal, Roshan; Luntamo, Terhi; Suominen, Auli; Steinhausen, Hans-Christoph; Sourander, Andre (2020). The impact of parental psychopathology and sociodemographic factors in selective mutism - a nationwide population-based study. BMC Psychiatry, 20:221.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Selective mutism (SM) is nowadays considered a relatively rare anxiety disorder characterized by children failing to speak in certain situations. Research on risk factors for SM are limited in comparison to other psychiatric disorders. The aim of this study was to examine several potential risk factors for SM in a large nationwide cohort, namely parental psychopathology, parental age, maternal SES, urbanicity, maternal marital status and parental immigration status.
METHODS
This nested case-control study comprised 860 cases with SM, identified from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register and 3250 controls matched for sex and age from the Finnish Central Population Register. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine the association between the risk factors and SM.
RESULTS
If both parents had any psychiatric disorder, this almost tripled their odds of having a child with SM (OR 2.8, 95% CI 2.0-4.0). There were increased rates of all types of psychiatric disorders in the parents of the children with SM, with a wider range of diagnoses among the mothers than fathers. Fathers over 35 years (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8) were significantly more likely to have children with SM. Offspring of a single mother had a 2-fold (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.4-3.0) increased odds of SM than mothers who were married or in a relationship.
CONCLUSIONS
Several parental psychiatric disorders were associated with offspring SM. This points towards a shared aetiology of psychiatric disorders. Findings on paternal age and single motherhood help to improve our understanding of risk factors for SM.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Selective mutism (SM) is nowadays considered a relatively rare anxiety disorder characterized by children failing to speak in certain situations. Research on risk factors for SM are limited in comparison to other psychiatric disorders. The aim of this study was to examine several potential risk factors for SM in a large nationwide cohort, namely parental psychopathology, parental age, maternal SES, urbanicity, maternal marital status and parental immigration status.
METHODS
This nested case-control study comprised 860 cases with SM, identified from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register and 3250 controls matched for sex and age from the Finnish Central Population Register. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine the association between the risk factors and SM.
RESULTS
If both parents had any psychiatric disorder, this almost tripled their odds of having a child with SM (OR 2.8, 95% CI 2.0-4.0). There were increased rates of all types of psychiatric disorders in the parents of the children with SM, with a wider range of diagnoses among the mothers than fathers. Fathers over 35 years (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8) were significantly more likely to have children with SM. Offspring of a single mother had a 2-fold (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.4-3.0) increased odds of SM than mothers who were married or in a relationship.
CONCLUSIONS
Several parental psychiatric disorders were associated with offspring SM. This points towards a shared aetiology of psychiatric disorders. Findings on paternal age and single motherhood help to improve our understanding of risk factors for SM.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:12 May 2020
Deposited On:05 Jun 2020 08:55
Last Modified:01 Aug 2020 18:49
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-244X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02637-6
PubMed ID:32398046

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