Objective: Childhood onset of "adult" psychiatric disorders may be caused, in part, by more salient genetic risk. In this study, the rates of schizophrenia spectrum disorders among parents of patients with childhood-onset and adult-onset schizophrenia and parents of community comparison subjects were compared. Method: To assess the presence of axis I and axis II disorders associated with schizophrenia, parents of patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia (95 parents), patients with adult-onset schizophrenia (86 parents), and community comparison subjects (123 parents) were interviewed directly by using semistructured instruments. Information on 19 additional parents (parents of childhood-onset patients, N=2; parents of adult-onset patients, N=11; parents of community comparison subjects, N=6) was obtained by using a family history interview with the same instruments. Transcribed interviews were scored by a rater blind to group membership, and the morbid risks for schizophrenia spectrum disorders in the three groups were compared. Results: Parents of patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia had a significantly higher morbid risk of schizophrenia spectrum disorders (24.74%) than parents of patients with adult-onset schizophrenia (11.35%), and parents of both patient groups had a greater risk of schizophrenia spectrum disorders than did parents of comparison subjects (1.55%). Conclusions: Parents of patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia have a higher rate of schizophrenia spectrum disorders than parents of patients with adult-onset illness. This is consistent with the hypothesis that a childhood onset of schizophrenia is due, at least in part, to a greater familial diathesis for the disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health