The Genetic and Environmental Basis of the Relationship Between Schizotypy and Personality: A Twin Study

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The clinical phenotype commonly referred to as schizotypy is used in two different ways in psychiatric practice. One usage emphasizes psychosis-proneness where schizotypy is considered part of the schizophrenia spectrum. The other emphasizes personality aberrations and is classed as a personality disorder. The present study provides evidence that schizotypy is a unitary construct and that features like schizophrenia and personality share a common genetic basis. A sample of 102 monozygotic and 90 dizygotic general population twin pairs completed measures of psychosis-proneness and traits delineating personality disorder. Multivariate genetic analyses showed that the observed relationship between psychotic and personality features is caused almost entirely by common genetic factors. Environmental factors appear to be unique to each measure. On the basis of these findings, it is suggested that the environment mediates change in personality function to psychosis as proposed by Meehl's original concept of schizotaxia.

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