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A quantitative genetic analysis of schizotypal personality traits

  • Y. M. LINNEY (a1), R. M. MURRAY (a1), E. R. PETERS (a1), A. M. MacDONALD (a1), F. RIJSDIJK (a1) and P. C. SHAM (a1)...


Background. Previous twin studies investigating the heritability of schizotypy have often had limited power and have failed to measure the disorganization/social anxiety component.

Method. Seven hundred and thirty-three female twin pairs, drawn from the Institute of Psychiatry Volunteer Twin Register, completed the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences and the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory. Structural equation modelling was carried out on scores for MZ and DZ twin pairs.

Results. The best fitting models for all scales comprised additive genetic and unique environmental effects. Heritability was estimated at approximately 50% for most scales, although it was lower at 37% for the PDI scale. Multivariate structural equation model fitting revealed a best-fitting model in which additive genetic and unique environmental influences act through a single common pathway for Cognitive Disorganization, Unusual Experiences and the PDI, and through a separate common pathway for Cognitive Disorganization and Introvertive Anhedonia.

Conclusions. The various components of schizotypy are moderately heritable. Multivariate model fitting indicates that at least two latent factor structures are required to account for the covariation between the various components of schizotypy. The positive and negative components of schizotypy are relatively genetically independent, although each in turn may be related to Cognitive Disorganization.


Corresponding author

Dr Yvonne M. Linney, Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF.


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