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February 1969

Thought Disorders in Parents of Psychotic Children: A Function of Test Anxiety

Author Affiliations

Chapel Hill, NC
From the Division of Child Psychiatry (Dr. Schopler), Dept of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(2):174-181. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740140046005

IMPAIRED thinking in parents of schizophrenic or psychotic patients has long been a focus of interest for clinicians. The ideas, emotional expressions, and personalities of such parents have often been described in intriguing parallels to their psychotic offspring. Parents' aberrant thinking was found to be linked to the thought structure found in their schizophrenic offspring.1-2 Parents of autistic children were found to interfere with the very beginnings of any tender or nurturant relationship with their children.3 These parents were characterized as schizophrenogenic or "refrigerator parents"4 who characterologically impaired their child's development. Some of these investigators recognized that disturbed family relationships may also be fostered by the influence of the disturbed offspring on the family. It is clear, however, that according to psychodynamic theories of schizophrenia, parental attitudes are considered primary in the child's development of psychosis and schizophrenia. In recent years parental cries

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