Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-7nm9g Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-25T06:53:47.960Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

A Twin study of Individuals with both Schizophrenia and Alcoholism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

Kenneth S. Kendler*
Departments of Psychiatry and Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, P. O. Box 710, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA


Substantial evidence suggests that genetic factors contribute to the aetiology of both schizophrenia and alcoholism, when they occur alone. To examine the role of genetic factors in schizophrenia and alcoholism when they occur together in the same individual, the frequency of both conditions was investigated in the co-twins of 34 monozygotic (MZ) and 47 dizygotic (DZ) index twins with a diagnosis of both schizophrenia and alcoholism. Both disorders alone were significantly more common in the MZ than in the DZ co-twins, suggesting that individuals suffering from schizophrenia and alcoholism have a genetic predisposition to both disorders, which is of the same nature as that which causes the two when they occur alone. In the co-twins of the MZ index twins, the diagnoses of schizophrenia and alcoholism were uncorrelated, indicating that the specific environmental factors of causal importance in the two disorders are not closely related.

Copyright © 1985 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Alterman, A. I., Ayre, F. R. & Williford, W. O. (1984) Diagnostic validation of conjoint schizophrenia and alcoholism. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 45, 300303.Google ScholarPubMed
Bleuler, M. (1978) The Schizophrenic Disorders: Long-Term Patient and Family Studies. Translated by Clemens, S. M. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Camilli, G. & Hopkins, K. D. (1978) Applicability of chi-square to 2x2 contingency tables with small expected cell frequencies. Psychological Bulletin, 85, 163167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cederlof, R., Friberg, L., Jonsson, E. et al (1961) Studies on similarity of diagnosis in twins with the aid of mailed questionnaires. Acta Genetica (Basel), 11, 338362.Google ScholarPubMed
Cotton, N. S. (1979) The familial incidence of alcoholism: A review. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 40, 89116.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Freed, E. X. (1975) Alcoholism and schizophrenia: the search for perspective. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 36, 853881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goodwin, D. W. (1982) The genetics of alcoholism. In Biological Markers in Psychiatry and Neurology (eds. Usdin, E. & Hanin, I.). New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Gottesman, I. I. & Shields, J. (1982) Schizophrenia: The Epigenetic Puzzle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hrubec, Z. & Neel, J. V. (1978) The National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Twin Registry: ten years of operation. In Twin Research, Part B: Biology and Epidemiology (eds. Nance, W. E., Allen, G. & Parisi, P.). New York: Alan R. Liss.Google Scholar
Hrubec, Z. & Omenn, G. S. (1981) Evidence of genetic predisposition to alcoholic cirrhosis and psychosis: twin concordances for alcoholism and its biological end points by zygosity among male veterans. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 5, 207215.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jablon, S., Neel, J. V., Gershowitz, H. et al, (1967) The NAS-NRC twin panel: methods of construction of the panel, zygosity diagnosis, and proposed use. American Journal of Human Genetics, 19, 133161.Google Scholar
Kallmann, F. J. (1938) The Genetics of Schizophrenia. New York: Augustin.Google Scholar
Kendler, K. S. & Robinette, C. D. (1983) Schizophrenia in the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Twin Registry: a 16-year update. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 15511563.Google ScholarPubMed
Kendler, K. S. Gruenberg, A. M. & Tsuang, M. T. (in press) Psychiatric illness in first degree relatives of schizophrenic and surgical controls patients: A family study using DSM-III criteria. Archives of General Psychiatry.Google Scholar
Kraepelin, E. (1923) Clinical Psychiatry: A Textbook for Students and Physicians. Translated by Diefendorf, D. R., pp. 184200. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Martin, N. G. & Eaves, L. J. (1977) The genetical analysis of covariance structure. Heredity, 38, 7995.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pearson, E. S. & Hartley, H. O. (1972) Biometrica–Tables for Statisticians, vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Rimmer, J. & Jacobsen, B. (1977) Alcoholism in schizophrenics and their relatives. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 38, 17811784.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ruchin, E. (1916) Zur Vererbun und Neuentstehung der Dementia Praecox. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
Victor, M. & Hope, J. M. (1958) The phenomenon of auditory hallucinations in chronic alcoholism. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders, 126, 451481.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.