Prevalence of psychiatric illness in primary caretakers of childhood-onset schizophrenia subjects

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Jonathan Kusumi
Randal G. Ross *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Randal G. Ross |


Childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) refers to schizophrenia with onset of psychotic symptoms prior to a child’s 13th birthday. Optimal treatment likely includes family-based services supplementing antipsychotic pharmacotherapy. However, family-based services can require adjustment based on parental psychopathology; there has been little literature exploring the frequency or type of psychopathology seen in parents of COS cases. This report includes the results of a structured psychiatric evaluation on 80 parents of a COS case with comparison to a sample of 304 parents. Having a child with psychosis and being of minority racial/ethnicity status increased risk for psychiatric illness. Psychotic disorders (15% vs. 5%), mood disorders (54% vs. 27%), anxiety disorders (30% vs. 18%), and substance use disorders (49% vs. 31%) were all increased in the parents with a psychotic child. Psychiatric illness is common in parents of a child with COS and will need to be consid- ered as family-based services for COS are developed.

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