Rosaria Nardello, Valeria Tullio, Alessandra Viviano, Fulvio Guccione , Corinne La Spina, Stefania Zerbo, Antonina Argo
The correlation between maternal exposure to stressful and traumatic events during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring has been studied in the literature. Fewer studies, however, have considered the mother’s exposure to traumatic events during childhood. This work focuses on maternal exposure to these events in childhood and/or adulthood, relating it to autism spectrum disorder in offspring. A questionnaire was used to assess whether and to what type of event the mothers have been exposed, and to assess eventual peri-traumatic dissociation related to the traumatic event. The mothers involved in this study were recruited at the Child Neuropsychiatry Outpatient Clinic of the University Hospital of Palermo. 22 mothers (natural mothers) gave their time to participate in this pilot study, and all who were considered have the characteristics required to be enrolled in this study. The control group consists of 50 mothers of children with diagnosis of language disorder (LD). The difference between maternal exposure to stressful and traumatic events in the group of cases compared to the control group is statistically significant (p = 0.03); the median value is 7 in the cases vs 4.5 in controls. The finding of a greater number of stressful and traumatic events in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder compared to mothers of children with language disorder could suggest the existence of a correlation between maternal exposure to stress and trauma and the risk of developing autism in offspring.