Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Genetic modelling of childhood social development and personality in twins and siblings with schizophrenia

M. M. Picchionia1a2 c1, M. Walshea1, T. Toulopouloua1, C. McDonalda3, M. Taylora4, S. Waters-Meteniera1, E. Bramona1, A. Regojoa1, R. M. Murraya1 and F. Rijsdijka5

a1 Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK

a2 St Andrew's Academic Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, Northampton, UK

a3 Department of Psychiatry, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

a4 Ballenden House, Edinburgh, UK

a5 Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK

Abstract

Background Abnormalities in early social development and personality are present in patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected relatives. This study aimed to establish the degree to which these childhood and adolescent developmental abnormalities are genetically determined.

Method We used a combined twin and family study design (n=531) to assess childhood and adolescent social adjustment and schizotypal personality traits in 98 twin pairs (n=196) varying in their zygosity and concordance for schizophrenia and 156 sibling clusters (n=335) varying in their concordance for schizophrenia.

Results Schizophrenia was significantly associated with childhood and adolescent deficits in social adjustment and personality, with additive genetic effects being the main source of these phenotypic correlations.

Conclusions Abnormalities of social adjustment and personality are present in children and adolescents who later develop schizophrenia, reflecting the influence of common genetic risk.

(Received March 11 2009)

(Revised August 24 2009)

(Accepted August 27 2009)

(Online publication October 29 2009)

Correspondence

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr M. M. Picchioni, PO67, Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email: marco.picchioni@iop.kcl.ac.uk)

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