[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 1979

The Children of Psychiatrically Disturbed ParentsDifferences as a Function of the Sex of the Sick Parent

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn (Dr Orvaschel); the Social Science Research Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (Dr Mednick); the Psykologist Institut, Kommunehospitalet, Copenhagen (Drs Mednick and Schulsinger); and the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ (Dr Rock).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(6):691-695. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780060081009

• To examine the effects of the sex of a psychiatrically disturbed parent on the offspring, we compared children of a schizophrenic parent, a psychiatrically disturbed but not schizophrenic parent, and a normal parent using behavioral, attentional, and neurological indices. Results of a discriminant analysis indicate that children of psychiatrically disturbed mothers have an increased sensitivity to tactile stimulation, possibly reflecting more labile autonomic nervous system functioning. In addition, children with a schizophrenic parent of either sex show evidence of neurological motor dysfunction.