Early developmental milestones and risk of schizophrenia: a 45-year follow-up of the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between age of neuromotor milestone attainment and risk of adult schizophrenia. 5765 mothers of the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort recorded 12 developmental milestones during the child's first year of life. Cohort members were followed until they were 46-48 years old through record linkage with the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register. The age at which milestones were met in the 92 individuals who later developed schizophrenia was compared with milestone attainment in the 691 individuals who developed other psychiatric disorders and in the 4982 cohort controls who were never admitted to a psychiatric department. Group comparisons were adjusted for gender, mother's age, father's age, parental social status, breadwinner's education, single mother status and parity. Individuals who developed schizophrenia reached all developmental milestones later than controls and differed significantly from the controls with respect to the mean age of reaching the 12 milestones. Five developmental milestones in particular (smiling, lifting head, sitting, crawling, and walking) differed significantly. Individuals who later developed psychiatric disorders other than schizophrenia reached most developmental milestones earlier than those who developed schizophrenia, but later than the controls. The two psychiatric groups only differed significantly with respect to age of walking without support. The findings corroborate and methodologically extend previous research from prospective longitudinal cohort studies suggesting developmental delays observable as early as within the first year of life. These early developmental delays may not only characterize schizophrenia, but may be associated with a range of psychiatric disorders.