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Schizophrenia Affects Offspring

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003   [ Request Print ]

Children of schizophrenics are more prone to mental health problems in young adulthood, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Swedish researchers discovered that 89% of these children had 1 or more signs of mental health problems, ~13 times the risk of children born to nonschizophrenic women. The findings were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (May 2003).

During the study, researchers followed the children of 28 women with schizophrenia. They compared these children with the offspring of 91 healthy women, as well as with those of 22 women with mood disorders and 10 women with psychosis. Children had an average age of about 22 years when the study ended. The results showed that, of the children born to schizophrenic mothers, 2 showed signs of psychosis, whereas a full 40% had signs of depression. In comparison, 12% of children of women who were not schizophrenic developed depression.

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