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Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Jul;179:39-45.

Twin study of symptom dimensions in psychoses.

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  • 1Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.



Symptomatology in psychoses can be summarised as quantitative symptom dimensions, but their genetic basis is unknown.


To investigate whether genes make an important contribution to symptom dimensions.


A total of 224 probandwise twin pairs (106 monozygotic, 118 same-gender dizygotic) where probands had psychosis were ascertained from the Maudsley Twin Register in London. Factor analysis was performed on lifetime symptoms rated on the Operational Checklist for Psychotic Disorders (OPCRIT). Correlations of dimension scores within monozygotic and dizygotic pairs concordant for Research Diagnostic Criteria psychoses were performed. Relationships between dimension scores and genetic loading for psychoses were assessed using logistic regression.


Patterns of familial aggregation consistent with a genetic effect were found for the disorganised dimension and for some measures of the negative, manic and general psychotic dimensions. Disorganised dimension scores were related significantly to genetic loading for psychoses.


The disorganised dimension, and possibly other symptom dimensions, may be useful phenotypes for molecular genetic studies of psychoses.

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