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Lifetime prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Michael J Lyons*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Boston University; Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health center, Boston, MA; Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Boston, MA; Department of Psychiatry, Brockton VA, Brockton, MA. mlyons@bu.edu
Jonathan Huppert
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Boston University.
Rosemary Toomey
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health center, Boston, MA; Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Boston, MA; Department of Psychiatry, Brockton VA, Brockton, MA.
Rebecca Harley
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Boston University.
Jack Goldberg
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago, IL; Hines VA Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center, Hines, IL.
Seth Eisen
Affiliation:
Research and Medical Service, St Louis, MO; Department of Medicine, Washington University, St Louis, MO.
William True
Affiliation:
Research and Medical Service, St Louis, MO; School of Public Health, St Louis University, St Louis, MO, USA.
Stephen V Faraone
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health center, Boston, MA; Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Boston, MA.
Ming T Tsuang
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health center, Boston, MA; Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Boston, MA; Department of Psychiatry, Brockton VA, Brockton, MA.
*
*Correspondence: Michael J Lyons PhD, Psychology Department, Boston University, 64 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Tel: (617)353 3820; Fax: (508)586 6791;

Abstract

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There have been long questions about the relationship of schizophrenia to other mental disorders. Lifetime DSM-III-R diagnoses of mood and anxiety disorders in twins with clinically diagnosed schizophrenia (n = 24) and their non-affected co-twins (n = 24) were compared with twins from pairs without schizophrenia (n = 3327) using a sample from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Schizophrenic probands had significantly elevated rates of all included disorders (bipolar disorder, major depression, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD) compared with controls (P < 0.01). The odd ratios comparing co-twins of schizophrenic probands with controls was greater than three for every disorder, but did not attain statistical significance. A similar pattern was observed when analyses were restricted to only monozygotic twins (n = 12). Consistent with other studies, schizophrenics appeared to have higher rates of a range of mental disorders. Our results suggest that schizophrenia per se represents a risk factor for other psychiatric disorders, but the absence of significantly elevated risk among non-schizophrenic co-twins suggested that family environmental and/or genetic factors that contribute to risk of schizophrenia do not increase the risk of mood and anxiety disorders to the same extent that the risk of these other disorders is increased by the presence of schizophrenia. Twin Research (2000) 3, 28–32.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2000
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