February 1979

Egocentrism in Children of Parents With a History of Psychotic Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale Psychiatric Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn (Dr Strauss); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry (Dr Harder); and the Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Dr Chandler).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(2):191-196. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780020081009

• It is known that children of schizophrenic parents have an increased risk for becoming schizophrenic, but it has been extremely difficult to determine what features may exist in such children before they become manifestly ill that might provide a key for identifying vulnerability to subsequent disorder. This study was carried out to determine whether certain types of egocentric perception exist in the children of psychotic parents that might represent a clue to vulnerability. Sixty parent-child pairs were investigated as part of the University of Rochester (NY) Child and Family Study, using standardized diagnostic assessment procedures in the parents and several methods for evaluating egocentric perception in their offspring. Results showed that severity of psychotic symptoms in a parent related significantly to the degree of persistent age-inappropriate spatial egocentrism in his or her child. All of several diagnostic approaches used for parent classification were about equally valid in this regard, except for hospital diagnosis of schizophrenia, which did not correlate significantly with offspring egocentricity.