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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impact of parental multiple sclerosis on early childhood development: A retrospective cohort study

  • Author(s): Razaz, N
  • Tremlett, H
  • Boyce, WT
  • Guhn, M
  • Joseph, KS
  • Marrie, RA
  • et al.

© The Author(s), 2015. Background: Exposure to parental chronic illness is associated with several adverse developmental outcomes. Objectives: We examined the association between parental multiple sclerosis (MS) and childhood developmental outcomes. Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study in Manitoba, Canada, using linked databases. The outcome was childhood development at 5 years of age, expressed as vulnerability (absent vs. present) on the Early Development Instrument (EDI). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Children with an MS parent (n=153) were similar to children of unaffected parents (n=876) on all EDI domains. However, mental health morbidity was more common among MS parents compared with non-MS parents 49.5% vs. 35.3%. Among MS parents, mental health morbidity was associated with children's vulnerability on the social competence (OR, 5.73 [95% CI:1.11-29.58]) and emotional maturity (OR, 3.03 [95% CI:1.03-8.94]) domains. The duration of child's exposure to parental MS was associated with vulnerability on the physical health domain (OR, 1.49 [95%CI:1.03-2.15]). Conclusion: Parental MS was not associated with adverse early childhood developmental outcomes. However, children of parents with mental health morbidity, and those with longer duration of exposure to parental MS, were at higher risk for early childhood developmental vulnerability.

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