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J Anal Res Clin Med. 2016;4(4):207-214.
doi: 10.15171/jarcm.2016.035
  Abstract View: 629
  PDF Download: 666

Original Article

Stressful life events during pregnancy as risk factors for developing autistic disorder in children

Salman Abdi 1, Ayyoub Malek 2, Shahrokh Amiri 3 * , Habibeh Barzegar 1, Afshin Razzaghi Rezaih 4

1 Psychologist, Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Professor, Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Associate Professor, Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
4 Psychiatrist, Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

Introduction: This study aimed to examine the role of prenatal stressful events in mothers of children and adolescents with autistic disorder (AD). Methods: This case-control study was conducted in 2014. A total number of 115 children and adolescents with AD were selected by convenience method from the autism rehabilitation centers in Tabriz, Iran. Moreover, 112 typically developing (TD) children and adolescents were selected from public schools using a random clustering method. Two groups were matched in terms of mother's and child's age and mother's educational level. The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) semi-structured diagnostic interview was used to evaluate the presence of psychiatric disorders. The diagnosis of AD was made based on the DSM-IV criteria during separate diagnostic interviews by two child and adolescent psychiatrists. The life stressful events’ inventory was used to assess the presence of stressful events during pregnancy. Results: According to Fisher's exact test, the frequency of stressful life events including failure to achieve life goals, high debt, frequent marital conflict, conflict with spouse's family, changes in sleeping habits, and sexual difficulties in the mothers of AD children during pregnancy was significantly higher than the mothers of TD children. Also, mothers of AD children reported significantly higher frequency for the positive stressful life events including the major job progress, starting or finishing education, change of education, location, and summer vacation during pregnancy. Conclusion: Some stressful life events in mothers during pregnancy may be considered as risk factors for developing AD in their children. Further researches are needed to establish the results of this study.
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Submitted: 28 Oct 2016
Accepted: 06 Nov 2016
First published online: 06 Nov 2016
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