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Fetal growth and psychiatric and socioeconomic problems: population-based sibling comparison

  • Quetzal A. Class (a1), Martin E. Rickert (a1), Henrik Larsson (a2), Paul Lichtenstein (a2) and Brian M. D'Onofrio (a1)...
Abstract
Background

It is unclear whether associations between fetal growth and psychiatric and socioeconomic problems are consistent with causal mechanisms.

Aims

To estimate the extent to which associations are a result of unmeasured confounding factors using a sibling-comparison approach.

Method

We predicted outcomes from continuously measured birth weight in a Swedish population cohort (n = 3 291 773), while controlling for measured and unmeasured confounding.

Results

In the population, lower birth weight (⩽2500 g) increased the risk of all outcomes. Sibling-comparison models indicated that lower birth weight independently predicted increased risk for autism spectrum disorder (hazard ratio for low birth weight = 2.44, 95% CI 1.99–2.97) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although attenuated, associations remained for psychotic or bipolar disorder and educational problems. Associations with suicide attempt, substance use problems and social welfare receipt, however, were fully attenuated in sibling comparisons.

Conclusions

Results suggest that fetal growth, and factors that influence it, contribute to psychiatric and socioeconomic problems.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Quetzal A. Class, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, 1101 East 10th St, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. Email: qaclass@indiana.edu
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Fetal growth and psychiatric and socioeconomic problems: population-based sibling comparison

  • Quetzal A. Class (a1), Martin E. Rickert (a1), Henrik Larsson (a2), Paul Lichtenstein (a2) and Brian M. D'Onofrio (a1)...
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