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Parental mental disorders and offspring schizotypy in middle childhood: an intergenerational record linkage study.

PURPOSE: To investigate relationships between distinct schizotypy risk profiles in childhood and the full spectrum of parental mental disorders.

METHODS: Participants were 22,137 children drawn from the New South Wales Child Development Study, for whom profiles of risk for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders in middle childhood (age ~ 11 years) were derived in a previous study. A series of multinomial logistic regression analyses examined the likelihood of child membership in one of three schizotypy profiles (true schizotypy, introverted schizotypy, and affective schizotypy) relative to the children showing no risk, according to maternal and paternal diagnoses of seven types of mental disorders.

RESULTS: All types of parental mental disorders were associated with membership in all childhood schizotypy profiles. Children in the true schizotypy group were more than twice as likely as children in the no risk group to have a parent with any type of mental disorder (unadjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.27, 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 2.01-2.56); those in the affective (OR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.42-1.67) and introverted schizotypy profiles (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.29-1.51) were also more likely to have been exposed to any parental mental disorder, relative to children showing no risk.

CONCLUSION: Childhood schizotypy risk profiles appear not to be related specifically to familial liability for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders; this is consistent with a model where liability for psychopathology is largely general rather than specific to particular diagnostic categories.

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