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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

Implications of Advancing Paternal Age: Does It Affect Offspring School Performance?
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Author: Anna C. Svensson et al.

by Anna C. Svensson, Kathryn Abel, Christina Dalman, Cecilia Magnusson

Average paternal age is increasing in many high income countries, but the implications of this demographic shift for child health and welfare are poorly understood. There is equivocal evidence that children of older fathers are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders and reduced IQ. We therefore report here on the relationship between paternal age and a composite indicator of scholastic achievement during adolescence, i.e. compulsory school leaving grades, among recent birth cohorts in Stockholm County where delayed paternity is notably common. We performed a record-linkage study comprising all individuals in Stockholm County who finished 9 years of compulsory school from 2000 through 2007 (n?=?155,875). Data on school leaving grades and parental characteristics were retrieved from administrative and health service registers and analyzed using multiple linear regression. Advancing paternal age at birth was not associated with a decrease in school leaving grades in adolescent offspring. After adjustment for year of graduation, maternal age and parental education, country of birth and parental mental health service use, offspring of fathers aged 50 years or older had on average 0.3 (95% CI -3.8, 4.4) points higher grades than those of fathers aged 30–34 years. In conclusion, advancing paternal age is not associated with poorer school performance in adolescence. Adverse effects of delayed paternity on offspring cognitive function, if any, may be counterbalanced by other potential advantages for children born to older fathers.
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