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Growth pattern and risk of schizophrenia

  • J. Haukka (a1), J. Suvisaari (a1), L. Häkkinen (a1) and J. Lönnqvist (a1)



Foetal nutrition and growth seem to affect the risk of developing schizophrenia. Exposure to famine during foetal development and low birthweight increase the risk. However, few studies have investigated the association between schizophrenia and adult height and weight or patterns of growth.


The study population consisted of two subpopulations: families with at least one member with schizophrenia, and families of offspring of mothers with psychotic disorder, and controls. Using a seven-parameter model of height growth curves, we compared the parameters of persons who later developed schizophrenia and their unaffected siblings from the same families. We also studied how growth curve parameters differed in children with genetic risk for schizophrenia and controls, and whether weight, height and body mass index (BMI) at different ages predicted later development of schizophrenia.


The predicted growth curves based on a parametric model were nearly identical for persons with schizophrenia and their unaffected siblings. Adult height of daughters of mothers with psychoses was borderline significantly (p=0.0536) lower compared to controls, while no difference was detected among sons (p=0.3283).


No association between growth characteristics and schizophrenia in families with at least one member with schizophrenia was found. Family-related factors should be taken into account as possible confounders in future studies on growth and schizophrenia.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: J. Haukka, Ph.D., Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, KTL, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 160, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland. (Email:


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Growth pattern and risk of schizophrenia

  • J. Haukka (a1), J. Suvisaari (a1), L. Häkkinen (a1) and J. Lönnqvist (a1)


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