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Consanguineous marriage and the mental health of progeny: a population-wide data-linkage study

Maguire, A., Tseliou, F. and O'Reilly, D. 2017. Consanguineous marriage and the mental health of progeny: a population-wide data-linkage study. European Journal of Public Health 27 (S3) , ckx187.416. 10.1093/eurpub/ckx187.416

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Background Although a controversial subject in some Western countries, consanguineous marriage (CM), defined as a union between two individuals related as second cousins or closer, remains common in North Africa, the Middle East, large parts of Asia and among members of the travelling community. Approximately 10% of children worldwide are born to consanguineous parents. A multitude of evidence exists exploring the risk of genetic abnormalities in children born to consanguineous parents, though conflicting, but few studies have analysed the risk to mental health. This study aims to ask does CM affect the mental health of progeny. Methods This population-wide data linkage study utilised historical data from the Child Health Dataset in Northern Ireland linked to current prescription medication data from the Enhanced Prescribing Database to construct multi-level models to determine if children born to CM are more likely to receive psychotropic medication. Results Of the 372,710 individuals born 1971-1986, 623 (0.2%) were born to CM. After full adjustment, children of first cousin CM were almost twice as likely to be in receipt of anti-psychotic medication compared to children of non-related parents (OR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.19, 3.24), and over twice as likely to be in receipt of anxiolytic or antidepressant medication (OR = 2.37, 95% CI 0.98, 5.72), though this association was not statistically significant. There was a clear stepwise increase in likelihood of psychotropic medication with degree of consanguinity. Conclusions Being a child of CM increases your likelihood of psychoses. Although the physical genetic risk of CM is currently debated, more research is required into the psychological effects of CM on progeny. This is an issue especially within rural communities but is of increasing global relevance as Western Europe has experienced an influx of at least 10 million migrants in recent decades from countries where CM is common.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy B - Oxford Open Option D
ISSN: 1101-1262
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2019 14:28

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