Affiliation: National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845 Australia.
Objective: The present study aimed to examine the association between hospitalisation for physical disease during infancy, toddlerhood and childhood and risk of mental disorders during adolescence and early adulthood.
Method: This was a population-based birth-cohort study of males born between 1980 and 1984 in Western Australia. The observation period began at the age of 12yrs, and lasted until the first diagnosis of mental disorder (since the age of 12yrs), death or Dec 30th 2009, which ever occurred first. Multivariate Poisson regression models were employed to estimate the association between hospital admissions for physical disease before the age of 12yrs and risk of mental disorder during adolescence and early adulthood.
Results: Frequent hospitalisations during infancy, toddlerhood and childhood were associated with increased risk of mental disorders and risk of mood disorders during adolescence and young adulthood. The association remained when restricting the sample to those without physical disease hospitalisation after the age of 12.
Conclusion: It is possible that chronic psychological distress associated with physical conditions requiring hospitalisation and medical treatments impair normal mental development during childhood and further increase the risk of mental disorders in later life.