Cumulative incidence of mental disorders among offspring of mothers with psychotic disorder: Results from the Helsinki High-Risk Study

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The Helsinki High-Risk Study follows up all women born between 1916 and 1948 and treated for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders in psychiatric hospitals in Helsinki, their offspring born between 1960 and 1964, and controls.


To determine the cumulative incidence of adulthood Axis I disorders among offspring.


Using all hospital and outpatient treatment records we rediagnosed parents and offspring according to DSM-IV-TR criteria. Offspring were grouped by mother's diagnosis (schizophrenia n=104, schizoaffective disorder n=20, other schizophrenia-spectrum disorder n=30, and affective disorder n=25) and compared with a control group (n=176). The cumulative incidences of Axis I disorders among offspring were calculated.


The cumulative incidences of any psychotic disorder were 13.5%, 10.0%, 10.0%, 4.0% and 1.1% among offspring of mothers with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, other schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, affective disorders and controls, respectively. The corresponding figures for schizophrenia were 6.7%, 5.0%, 6.7%, 0% and 0.6%, and for any mental disorder 23.1%, 20.0%, 20.0%, 12.0% and 6.9%.


Offspring of mothers with a psychotic disorder have heightened risk of developing a wide range of severe mental disorders.

Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

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