Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-n4bck Total loading time: 0.677 Render date: 2022-08-16T03:23:53.407Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and subsequent schizophrenia

The May 1940 invasion of the Netherlands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2018

Jim Van Os*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Jean-Paul Selten
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Dr Jim van Os, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Tel: 31 43 329 9783. Fax: 31 43 329 9708

Abstract

Background

It has been suggested that prenatal exposure to maternal stress increases the risk of subsequently developing schizophrenia.

Method

The five-day invasion and defeat of The Netherlands by the German army in May 1940 constituted a severe, well-circumscribed national stressful event. Individuals exposed and non-exposed to this stressor in the first, second and third trimester of pregnancy were followed up for lifetime schizophrenia outcome through the National Psychiatric Case Register.

Register

Cumulative incidence of schizophrenia was higher in the exposed cohort (risk ratio (RR): 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03–1.28), especially in those exposed in the first trimester (RR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.07–1.53). Significant interaction with gender was apparent in second trimester exposed cohorts (RR men: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.05–1.74; RR women: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.61–1.12).

Conclusion

Maternal stress during pregnancy may contribute to the development of vulnerability to schizophrenia. The apparent longer window of exposure in male foetuses may be related to the slower pace of male early cerebral development.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Benediktsson, R. Calder, A. Edwards, C. et al (1997) Placental 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase: a key regulator of fetal glucocorticoid exposure. Clinical Endocrinology, 46, 161166.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Castle, D. & Murray, R. M. (1991) The neurodevelopmental basis of sex differences in schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 21, 565575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Jong, L. (1970) Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Staatsuitgeverij: The Hague.Google Scholar
Geddes, J. R. Verdoux, H. Takei, N. et al (1998) Individual patient data meta-analysis of the association between schizophrenia and abnormalities of pregnancy and labour. Schizophrenia Bulletin, in press.Google Scholar
Glover, V. (1997) Maternal stress or anxiety in pregnancy and emotional development of the child. British Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 105106.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goldberg, E. & Comstock, G. (1980) Epidemiology of life events: frequency in general populations. American Journal of Epidemiology, 111, 736.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hedegaard, M. Henriksen, T. B. Secher, N. J. et al (1996) Do stressful life events affect duration of gestation and risk of preterm delivery? Epidemiology, 7, 339345.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Huttunen, M. O. & Niskanen, P. (1973) Prenatal loss of father and psychiatric disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 35, 429431.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marcelis, M. Van Os, J. Sham, P. et al (1998) Obstetric complications and familial morbid risk of psychiatric disorder. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), in press.Google Scholar
Meijer, A. (1985) Child Psychiatric sequelae of maternal war stress. Acto Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 72, 505511.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Myhrman, A. Rantakallio, P. Isohanni, M. et al (1996) Unwantedness of a pregnancy and schizophrenia in the child. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 637640.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Orr, S. & Arden Miller, C. (1995) Maternal depressive symptoms and the risk of poor pregnancy outcome. Epidemiologic Review, 17, 165171.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schneider, M. L. (1992) The effect of mild stress during pregnancy on birthweight and neuromotor maturation in Rhesus monkey infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 15, 389403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Selten, J. P. & Sijben, N. (1994) First admission rates for schizophrenia in immigrants to the Netherlands. The Dutch National Register. Sociol Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 29, 7177.Google ScholarPubMed
StataCorp. (1997) Stata Statistical Software: Release 5.0 College Station, TX: Stata Corporation.Google Scholar
Susser, E. Neugebauer, R. Hoek, H. W. et al (1995) Schizophrenia after prenatal famine. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 2531.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Taylor, D. C. (1969) Differential rates of cerebral maturation between the sexes and between hemispheres. Lancet, ii, 140142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Uno, H. Eisele, S. Sakal, A. et al (1994) Neurotoxicity of glucocorticoids in the primate brain. Hormones and Behavior, 28, 335348.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Weinstock, M. Fride, E. & Hertzberg, R. (1988) Prenatal stress effects on functional development of the offspring. In Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 73 (eds G. J. Boer, M. G. P. Feenstra, M. Mirmiran et al), pp. 319331. Elsevier: Rotterdam.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.
332
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and subsequent schizophrenia
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and subsequent schizophrenia
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and subsequent schizophrenia
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *