An exploration of secondary sex ratios among women diagnosed with anxiety disorders
Authors: Subbaraman, M.S.; Goldman-Mellor, S.J.; Anderson, E.S.; LeWinn, K.Z.; Saxton, K.B.; Shumway, M.; Catalano, R.
Source: Human Reproduction, Volume 25, Number 8, 11 August 2010 , pp. 2084-2091(8)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:BACKGROUNDTheory suggests that natural selection conserved reactivity in part because highly reactive women spontaneously abort less fit conceptuses, particularly small males. Other literature argues that high reactivity manifests clinically as anxiety disorders. If true, births to women diagnosed with anxiety disorders should exhibit a low secondary sex ratio (i.e. ratio of male to female births). We explored whether births to women diagnosed with anxiety disorders exhibit a lower sex ratio than births to women diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders, or to women without mental health diagnoses.METHODSWe performed a casecontrol comparison of the secondary sex ratios among groups of women categorized by mental health diagnosis using birth records linked to data from California County Mental Health system records. We compared sex ratios among 5994 deliveries to mothers diagnosed with anxiety disorders, 23 443 deliveries to mothers diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders and 1 099 198 comparison births.RESULTSAlthough comparison births exhibited a higher sex ratio than births to women diagnosed with anxiety disorders or with other diagnoses, differences were not statistically significant. Births to African American women diagnosed with anxiety disorders, however, exhibited sex ratios significantly lower than comparison births among African Americans (OR 0.89, P 0.038) or births to African American women with other mental health diagnoses (OR 0.88, P 0.042).CONCLUSIONSWe found that infants born to African American women diagnosed with anxiety disorders exhibited a significantly lower secondary sex ratio than reference groups. We urge confirmatory tests of our findings and discuss implications of the reactivity/anxiety hypothesis for psychiatry, obstetrics and public health.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2010-08-11
- Human Reproduction features full-length, peer-reviewed papers reporting original research, clinical case histories, as well as opinions and debates on topical issues. Papers published cover the scientific and medical aspects of reproductive physiology and pathology, endocrinology, andrology, gonad function, gametogenesis, fertilization, embryo development, implantation, pregnancy, genetics, genetic diagnosis, oncology, infectious disease, surgery, contraception, infertility treatment, psychology, ethics and social issues. The highest scientific and editorial standard is maintained throughout the journal along with a rapid rate of publication.