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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;58(6):581-8.

Schizophrenia and schizophrenia-spectrum personality disorders in the first-degree relatives of children with schizophrenia: the UCLA family study.

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Della Martin Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA Department of Psychiatry, 48-240C NPI, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759, USA.



This study tested the hypothesis that childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) is a variant of adult-onset schizophrenia (AOS) by determining if first-degree relatives of COS probands have an increased risk for schizophrenia and schizotypal and paranoid personality disorders.


Relatives of COS probands (n = 148) were compared with relatives of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (n = 368) and community control (n = 206) probands. Age-appropriate structured diagnostic interviews were used to assign DSM-III-R diagnoses to probands and their relatives. Family psychiatric history was elicited from multiple informants. Diagnoses of relatives were made blind to information about probands' diagnoses. Final consensus diagnoses, which integrated family history, direct interview information, and medical records, are reported in this article.


There was an increased lifetime morbid risk for schizophrenia (4.95% +/- 2.16%) and schizotypal personality disorder (4.20% +/- 2.06%) in the parents of COS probands compared with parents of ADHD (0.45% +/- 0.45%, 0.91% +/- 0.63%) and community control (0%) probands. The parents of COS probands diagnosed as having schizophrenia had an early age of first onset of schizophrenia. Risk for avoidant personality disorder (9.41% +/- 3.17%) was increased in the parents of COS probands compared with parents of community controls (1.67% +/- 1.17%).


The psychiatric disorders that do and do not aggregate in the parents of COS probands are remarkably similar to the disorders that do and do not aggregate in the parents of adults with schizophrenia in modern family studies. These findings provide compelling support for the hypothesis of etiological continuity between COS and AOS.

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