Advanced paternal age has been consistently associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. It is less known if such an association also exists with subclinical/attenuated forms of psychosis. Additionally, it has been suggested that it is not paternal age per se, but rather delayed fatherhood, as a marker of a genetic liability of psychosis, that is the cause of the association. The aim of the current study was to examine whether paternal age and/or delayed fatherhood (paternity age) predict self-reported positive, negative, and/or depressive dimensions of psychosis in a large sample from the general population. The sample (N = 1465) was composed of control subjects from the 6 countries participating in the European Union Gene-Environment Interaction study. The CAPE, a self-report questionnaire, was used to measure dimensions of subclinical psychosis. Paternal age at the time of respondents’ birth and age of paternity were assessed by self-report. We assessed the influence of the variables of interest (paternal age or paternity age) on CAPE scores after adjusting for potential confounders (age, gender, and ethnicity). Paternal age was positively associated with the positive dimension of the CAPE. By contrast, paternity age was not associated with any of the psychosis dimensions assessed by the CAPE. Thus, our results do not support the idea that delayed fatherhood explains the association between age of paternity and psychosis risk. Furthermore, our results provide arguments for the hypothesis of an etiologic continuum of psychosis.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center.All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.