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The New York High-Risk Project:  Prevalence and Comorbidity of Axis I Disorders in Offspring of Schizophrenic Parents at 25-Year Follow-up

L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling, PhD, DSci; Ulla Hilldoff Adamo, MA; Donald Rock, PhD; Simone A. Roberts; Anne S. Bassett, MD; Elizabeth Squires-Wheeler, PhD; Barbara A. Cornblatt, PhD; Jean Endicott, PhD; Sky Pape; Irving I. Gottesman, PhD, FRCPsych
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(12):1096-1102. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830240052008.
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Background:  The New York High-Risk Project is a study of offspring of patients with schizophrenia (HRSz group) or affective illness (HRAff group) and psychiatrically normal parents (NC group) observed prospectively from childhood to adulthood. We herein present lifetime prevalence and comorbidity rates of Axis 1 disorders in subjects and their siblings from sample A of the project.

Methods:  Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia—Lifetime Version interviews conducted with the offspring in adulthood were used to obtain diagnoses of Axis I disorders.

Results:  Schizophrenia and unspecified psychoses occurred only in the HRSz group. However, schizoaffective and psychotic affective disorders occurred equally in the HRSz and HRAff groups. Total rates of psychosis in these groups were significantly higher than in the NC group. All groups had similar rates of nonpsychotic affective and substance abuse disorders. The HRAff group, however, had significantly more total affective illness than the NC group and tended to have more anxiety disorders than the other groups. Comorbidity rates in the HRSz and HRAff groups were nearly twice those of the NC group.

Conclusions:  The familial liabilities to schizophrenia and affective disorders show specificities and commonalities, differing markedly from each other in their expression of some disorders and sharing others. Patterns of comorbidity are generally, although not entirely, similar to these liabilities.


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