Journal of Autism

Journal of Autism

ISSN 2054-992X
Review

The relationship between maternal psychiatric disorder, autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability in the child: a composite picture

Jenny Fairthorne1*, Nick de Klerk2 and Helen Leonard1

*Correspondence: Jenny Fairthorne Jenny.Fairthorne@telethonkids.org.au

1. Department of Developmental Disability, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

Author Affiliations

2. Department of Biostatistics, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

Abstract

Objective: Our four previous research papers examined the relationship between maternal psychiatric disorders and having a child with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability (ASD or ID). Here, we aimed to discuss and integrate these results.

Methods: We used regression analyses of rates based on data from state-based, linkable registries.

Results: Women with a psychiatric disorder were about twice as likely to have a child with ASD or ID. Of mothers with no psychiatric history, those with a child with ASD or ID were about twice as likely to have a psychiatric disorder after the birth as mothers with no child with ASD or ID. During the study period, mothers with both a psychiatric disorder and a child with ASD or ID were at the highest risk of death, followed in succession by mothers with only a psychiatric disorder, mothers with only a child with ASD or ID, and mothers with neither a psychiatric disorder nor a child with ASD or ID.

Conclusions: The increased odds of a child with ASD or ID in women with a psychiatric disorder could be due to genetics and/or a poorer antenatal environment. The higher rate of new onset disorders in mothers with a child with ASD or ID could have been due to a higher burden of care. Mothers with both a psychiatric disorder and a child with ASD or ID faced the greatest challenges. Extra support is needed for mothers of children with ASD or ID (and particularly those with a psychiatric disorder) to enable them to maintain their mental health and to successfully meet the challenges of raising their child.

Keywords: Autism, intellectual disability, maternal, psychiatric, linked data, health

ISSN 2054-992X
Volume 2
Abstract Download