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September 1960

Confusion of Identity and the Frequency of Schizophrenia in Twins

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.
Laboratory of Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(3):297-304. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710030083011

If there is any agreement among proponents of the genetic and psychodynamic views of schizophrenia, it is that the etiology of the illness is to be found in the family. The former would like to look at the familial genes to see what errors of metabolism are being committed. The latter prefer to look at the familial goings-on to see what errors of influence and discretion are being committed. Both point to a tendency for schizophrenia to "run in families" as evidence supporting their own position. It is clear by now that until the specific metabolic error can be located or the specific patterns of influence defined and established, the issue of what is familially transmitted must remain hopelessly confounded.

Resort to twin studies has seemed to point a way out of the dilemma. The assumption in these studies has been that the environments of

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