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Psychiatry Res. 1997 Apr 18;70(1):39-48.

Validity of the family history method for identifying schizophrenia-related disorders.

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Psychiatry Department, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


We examined the family history method's validity for identifying schizophrenia related disorders (SRD) by comparing family history and family study derived diagnoses. First degree relatives (n = 284) of 48 psychiatrically disordered probands, predominantly with schizophrenia, were diagnosed using the Family History RDC (FH-RDC) which include three psychotic schizophrenia related disorders (P-SRD): schizophrenia, chronic SAD and chronic unspecified functional psychosis (CUFP). Supplementary criteria for schizophrenia related personality disorders (SRP), derived to identify schizotypal and paranoid personality disorders (PD), were also assessed. About two thirds of these relatives (n = 196; 69.0%) were independently diagnosed by RDC and DSM-III-R on both axis I and axis II in a family study. The specificity was 1.0 (178/178) and the sensitivity of the family history derived diagnosis for P-SRD was 0.72 (13/18). Sensitivity for P-SRD was improved, however, by inclusion of SRP which captured three of the five false negative relatives. The sensitivity of SRP for schizotypal or paranoid PD was 0.39 (15/38) and the specificity was 0.92 (127/138). The FH-RDC have moderately good sensitivity and excellent specificity for the psychotic schizophrenia related disorders. While family history criteria for SRP are not a good proxy for schizotypal or paranoid PD, they can enhance the family history method's sensitivity for SRD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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