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Childhood predictors of antipsychotic use among young people in Finland


D. Gyllenberg, Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Biomedicum 2C, P.O. BOX 705, 00029 HUS, Finland. E-mail:



Information on who uses antipsychotic medication is limited to cross-sectional data. The objective of this study was to study the patterns of psychopathology at age 8 years and antipsychotic use between the ages of 12 and 25 years.


A total of 5525 subjects from the Finnish Nationwide 1981 birth cohort were linked to the National Prescription Register and the Hospital Discharge Register between 1994 and 2005. Information about parent-reported and teacher-reported conduct, hyperkinetic and emotional symptoms, and self-reported depressive symptoms was gathered at age 8 years. Information about antipsychotic use and about psychiatric disorders treated in hospitals between the ages of 12 and 25 years was register based. Diagnostic classes of hospital treatment included non-affective psychoses, affective disorders, and other psychiatric disorders.


The cumulative incidence of antipsychotic use by age 25 years was 2.8% among men (n = 69) and 2.1% among women (n = 55). In both sexes, living with other than two biological parents at age 8 years was associated with antipsychotic use, and three fourths of antipsychotic users had been treated for psychiatric disorders in a hospital. Among men, the most common hospital diagnosis was non-affective psychoses (44% of all antipsychotic users), and antipsychotic use was associated with childhood conduct problems. Among women, the most common hospital diagnosis was affective disorders (38% of all antipsychotic users), and antipsychotic use was associated with emotional problems and self-reported depressive symptoms in childhood.


Antipsychotic use in adolescence and young adulthood is different among men versus women both with regard to hospital diagnoses and childhood psychiatric problems. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.