Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1928–1938 | Cite as

Maternal and Paternal Age are Jointly Associated with Childhood Autism in Jamaica

  • Mohammad H. RahbarEmail author
  • Maureen Samms-Vaughan
  • Katherine A. Loveland
  • Deborah A. Pearson
  • Jan Bressler
  • Zhongxue Chen
  • Manouchehr Ardjomand-Hessabi
  • Sydonnie Shakespeare-Pellington
  • Megan L. Grove
  • Compton Beecher
  • Kari Bloom
  • Eric Boerwinkle
Original Paper


Several studies have reported maternal and paternal age as risk factors for having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), yet the results remain inconsistent. We used data for 68 age- and sex-matched case–control pairs collected from Jamaica. Using Multivariate General Linear Models (MGLM) and controlling for parity, gestational age, and parental education, we found a significant (p < 0.0001) joint effect of parental ages on having children with ASD indicating an adjusted mean paternal age difference between cases and controls of [5.9 years; 95% CI (2.6, 9.1)] and a difference for maternal age of [6.5 years; 95% CI (4.0, 8.9)]. To avoid multicollinearity in logistic regression, we recommend joint modeling of parental ages as a vector of outcome variables using MGLM.


Autism spectrum disorders Maternal age Paternal age Multivariate General Linear Models Multicollinearity 



This research is co-funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center (NIH-FIC) by a grant [R21HD057808] awarded to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). We also acknowledge the support provided by the Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) component of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) for this project. CCTS is mainly funded by the NIH Centers for Translational Science Award (NIH CTSA) grant (UL1 RR024148), awarded to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2006 by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NICHD or the NIH-FIC or the NCRR.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad H. Rahbar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maureen Samms-Vaughan
    • 3
  • Katherine A. Loveland
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Deborah A. Pearson
    • 7
  • Jan Bressler
    • 8
  • Zhongxue Chen
    • 9
  • Manouchehr Ardjomand-Hessabi
    • 9
  • Sydonnie Shakespeare-Pellington
    • 3
  • Megan L. Grove
    • 8
  • Compton Beecher
    • 10
  • Kari Bloom
    • 9
  • Eric Boerwinkle
    • 8
    • 11
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences (EHGES), School of Public HealthThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)HoustonUSA
  2. 2.Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) Core, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS)The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)HoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child HealthThe University of the West Indies (UWI)KingstonJamaica
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth Medical SchoolUTHealthHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Changing Lives through Autism Spectrum Services (C.L.A.S.S.) ClinicUTHealthHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Center of Excellence on Development and PsychopathologyUTHealthHoustonUSA
  7. 7.Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth Medical SchoolUTHealthHoustonUSA
  8. 8.Human Genetics Center, School of Public HealthUTHealthHoustonUSA
  9. 9.Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design Core, Center for Clinical and Translational SciencesUTHealthHoustonUSA
  10. 10.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Caribbean GeneticsThe University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica
  11. 11.Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public HealthUTHealthHoustonUSA

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