Population attributable fractions for three perinatal risk factors for autism spectrum disorders, 2002 and 2008 autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Numerous studies establish associations between adverse perinatal outcomes/complications and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There has been little assessment of population attributable fractions (PAFs). Methods: We estimated average ASD PAFs for preterm birth (PTB), small for gestational age (SGA), and Cesarean delivery (CD) in a U.S. population. Average PAF methodology accounts for risk factor co-occurrence. ASD cases were singleton non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic children born in 1994 (n=703) or 2000 (n=1339) who resided in 48 U.S. counties included within eight Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network sites. Cases were matched on birth year, sex, and maternal county of residence, race-ethnicity, age, and education to 20 controls from U.S. natality files. Results: For the 1994 cohort, average PAFs were 4.2%, 0.9%, and 7.9% for PTB, SGA, and CD, respectively. The summary PAF was 13.0% (1.7%-19.5%). For the 2000 cohort, average PAFs were 2.0%, 3.1%, and 6.7% for PTB, SGA, and CD, respectively, with a summary PAF of 11.8% (7.5%-15.9%). Conclusions: Three perinatal risk factors notably contribute to ASD risk in a U.S. population. Because each factor represents multiple etiologic pathways, PAF estimates are best interpreted as the proportion of ASD attributable to having a suboptimal perinatal environment resulting in PTB, SGA, and/or CD. © 2014.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 1505102
  • Author List

  • Schieve LA; Tian LH; Baio J; Rankin K; Rosenberg D; Wiggins L; Maenner MJ; Yeargin-Allsopp M; Durkin M; Rice C
  • Start Page

  • 260
  • End Page

  • 266
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 4