Older maternal age is associated with depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms in young adult female offspring
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The evidence regarding older parental age and incidence of mood disorder symptoms in offspring is limited, and that which exists is mixed. We sought to clarify these relationships by using data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. The Raine Study provided comprehensive data from 2,900 pregnancies, resulting in 2,868 live born children. A total of 1,220 participants completed the short form of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) at the 20-year cohort follow-up. We used negative binomial regression analyses with log link and with adjustment for known perinatal risk factors to examine the extent to which maternal and paternal age at childbirth predicted continuous DASS-21 index scores. In the final multivariate models, a maternal age of 30–34 years was associated with significant increases in stress DASS-21 scores in female offspring relative to female offspring of 25- to 29-year-old mothers. A maternal age of 35 years and over was associated with increased scores on all DASS-21 scales in female offspring. Our results indicate that older maternal age is associated with depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms in young adult females. Further research into the mechanisms underpinning this relationship is needed.
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