Epidemiology and genetics of schizophrenia

B. S. Dohrenwend, B. P. Dohrenwend, I. I. Gottesman, B. Link, R. Neugebauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although geneticists studying schizophrenia have made great advances by means of quasi-experimental studies of twins and of adoptees and their parents, epidemiologic studies of broader populations are now called for to investigate the role of social factors together with genetic factors in the etiology of schizophrenia. To form a productive partnership, epidemiology and genetics must not only build on their separate achievements but also overcome problems in their research methods. One problem is that studies limited to treated cases may yield biased results. Second, in the past, variations in diagnostic criteria have led to confusing results in both genetic and epidemiologic research. It is proposed that future research use improved epidemiologic procedures now available and build on the strong epidemiologic finding of an inverse relation between social class and prevalence of schizophrenia to test genetic models by investigating class-specific rates of disorder in particular kinds of relatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalSOC. BIOL.
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research wassupported in part by Research Grant MH-10328 and by Research Scientist Award K5-MH-14,663 from the National Institute of Mental Health, U.S.Public Health Service. Theoriginal version ofthis paper was presented at thesymposium "Genetics in Epidemiology," sponsored by the AAAS Sections on Biological and Medical Sciences, the Society fortheStudy of Social Biology,and the American Public Health Association atthe Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Houston, Texas, January 4,1979.

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