Schizophrenia risk rises for unwanted child

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The Independent Online
Unwanted children run a higher risk of schizophrenia than those who are wanted or "mistimed", a Finnish study in The British Journal of Psychiatry says. Being unwanted is two and a half times more common in schizophrenics than in others even after adjustments are made for parents' social background and other factors shown to be risk factors for schizophrenia.

Of 11,017 individuals studied, 76 cases of schizophrenia were found in ages 16-28. Of these 1.5 per cent were from an unwanted pregnancy and 0.6 per cent were wanted; 0.5 per cent were mistimed. Stress during pregnancy may affect brain development and stress after birth leading to an abnormal family atmosphere could be contributing factors. "If a pregnancy is unwanted, this is more likely to put the child at risk of any psychological disorder," said Alyson Hall, a consultant in child psychology. "Children who are loved and wanted and cared for at childhood are less at risk."

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