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July 1986

Affective Illness in the Families of Schizophrenic Patients: What Does It Mean Diagnostically?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry Medical College of Virginia PO Box 710 Richmond, VA 23298

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(7):714-715. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800070104017

In Reply.—  I agree with Dr Hayward's main conclusion; our study1 suggests that the presence of affective illness in a family member should not generally cause a careful diagnosis of schizophrenia to be questioned. However, current information suggests that we can be considerably more confident in this statement for unipolar than for bipolar illness. Our recent study clearly shows that, using DSM-III criteria, being related to a schizophrenic patient neither protects from nor predisposes to major depression.1 This finding is consistent with our previous results from the Copenhagen sample of the Danish adoption study2 and the results of a controlled family study recently reported by Baron et al.3However, in the same study1 we found that bipolar illness was more common in relatives of schizophrenic patients than in relatives of controls. Whether this finding, which was of borderline statistical significance, results from the difficulty

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