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Association between parent mental health and paediatric TBI: epidemiological observations from the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort
  1. Michael Lowery Wilson1,2,
  2. Olli Tenovuo3,
  3. Mika Gissler4,5,
  4. Simo Saarijärvi1,2
  1. 1 Unit of Adolescent Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  2. 2 Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  3. 3 Department of Rehabilitation and Brain Trauma, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  4. 4 Department of Information Services, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5 Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Michael Lowery Wilson, Unit of Adolescent Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Turku, ICT City, Joukahaisenkatu 3-5, 20521 Turku, Finland; michael.l.wilson{at}


Background This study examined whether parental mental illness has implications for child risk for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Method Data on 60 069 Finnish children born in 1987 and their parents were examined for demographic and mental health-related variables in relationship with paediatric TBI. Altogether, 15 variables were derived from the cohort data with ICD-10 F-codes being available for mental health diagnoses for all parents. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were carried out using inpatient and outpatient diagnoses of child TBI.

Results Paternal disorders due to psychoactive substance use (F10–F19) was associated with an increased inpatient TBI (OR=1.51; CI=1.07 to 2.14). Mood disorders (F30–F39) were associated with higher rates of outpatient TBI (OR=1.42; CI=1.06 to 1.90). Paternal personality and behavioural disorders (F60–F69) were linked with a twofold increase in risk across both categories of child TBI (OR=2.35; CI=1.41 to 3.90) and (OR=2.29; CI=1.45 to 3.61), respectively. Among the maternal mental health factors associated with child TBI, schizophrenia and other non-mood psychotic disorders (F20–F29) were associated with an increase in inpatient traumatic brain injuries (iTBI) (OR=1.78; 1.22 to 2.59). Mothers having mood disorders (F30–F39) were more likely to have had a child who experienced an iTBI (OR=1.64; CI=1.20 to 2.22). Mothers with personality and behavioural disorders (F60–F69) were also found to have had children with an increased risk for iTBI (OR=2.30; CI=1.14 to 3.65).

Conclusion Taken together, these data should call attention to methods and strategies designed to augment and support caregiving environments with modalities that can foster mutually supportive households in cooperation with parents who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

  • traumatic brain injury
  • mental health
  • adolescent
  • child

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  • Contributors MLW drafted the first version of the manuscript and revised it in consultation with co-authors. OT, MG and SS participated in the planning of the study and critically reviewed the manuscript for relevant clinical and scientific content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding Author MLW’s participation was funded by a grant from Suomen Kulttuurirahasto (Helsinki, Finland). The funding agency had no role in the design of the study or in the interpretation of the results.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for cohort data use was obtained from theNational Institute for Health and Welfare (§28/2009).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.