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Sibling pairs with affective disorders: resemblance of demographic and clinical features

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 February 2002

E. O'MAHONY
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
A. CORVIN
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
R. O’CONNELL
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
C. COMERFORD
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
B. LARSEN
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
I. R. JONES
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
F. McCANDLESS
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
G. KIROV
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
A. G. CARDNO
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
N. CRADDOCK
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.
M. GILL
Affiliation:
From the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin and St James Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham; and Departments of Psychological Medicine and Medical Genetics, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff.

Abstract

Background. As part of a collaborative linkage study, the authors obtained clinical and demographic data on 160 families in which more than one sibling was affected with a bipolar illness. The aim of the study was to identify clinical characteristics that had a high degree of familiality.

Method. Data on age at onset, gender, frequency of illness-episodes and proportion of manic to depressive episodes were examined to determine intra-pair correlations in affected sibling pairs. Dimension scales were developed measuring frequency and severity of lifetime mania, depression, psychosis and mood-incongruence of psychotic symptoms; degree of familial aggregation for scores on these dimensions was calculated.

Results. Sibling pairs correlated significantly for age at onset (ρ = 0·293, P<0·001); dimension scores for psychosis (ρ = 0·332, P < 0·001); and proportion of manic to depressive episodes (ρ = 0·184, P = 0·002). These findings remained significant when correcting for multiple testing. Of the other test variables; mania (ρ = 0·171, P = 0·019); incongruence dimensions (ρ = 0·242, P = 0·042); frequency of manic episodes (ρ = 0·152, P = 0·033); and frequency of depressive episodes (ρ = 0·155, P = 0·028) were associated with modest correlations but these were not significant after correction. Degree of familial aggregation was not significant for sex (κ = 0·084) or dimension scores for depression (ρ = 0·078, P = 0·300).

Conclusions. Significant but modest familial resemblance has been shown for some specific features of bipolar illness, particularly age at onset and degree of psychosis. Further research may establish the extent to which these findings are mediated by genetic and/or environmental factors.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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