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16-05-2011 | Mental health | Article

DLEs linked to family history of variety of mental health disorders


Free abstract

MedWire News: Delusional-like experiences (DLEs) are associated with a family history of a wide range of mental health disorders, research suggests.

"Recent studies have indicated that isolated DLEs are common in the general population," explain John McGrath (The Park Centre for Mental Health, Wacol, Australia) and team.

"Furthermore, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that these experiences are more common in those with a family history of mental disorders," they add.

To investigate further, the team studied 8841 member of the general population, aged between 16 and 65 years, who participated in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007.

The World Mental Health Survey Initiative version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was used to assess lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses and DLEs among the participants.

The presence of DLEs was defined as endorsement of one or more items from the WMH-CIDI psychosis section. Participants who positively endorsed any screen items were then asked a "probe" question regarding specific mental health disorders.

They were also asked whether any immediate family members had been diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Of the participants, 776 (8.47%) endorsed at least one DLE screen item on the WMH-CIDI psychosis section.

After accounting for age, gender, and a personal history of mental health disorders, the researchers found that a family history of depression (n= 1553), anxiety disorder (n=1324), schizophrenia (n=236), bipolar disorder (n=337), and alcohol or illicit drug abuse/dependence (n=890), were significantly associated with DLEs, at respective odds ratios of 1.53, 1.59, 2.16, 1.68, and 1.61.

A family history of depression and schizophrenia remained significantly associated with an increased risk for DLEs, at ORs of 1.73 and 3.02, respectively, when the analysis was restricted to participants who endorsed the secondary probe question - a more restrictive measure of DLEs.

"We report, to our knowledge for the first time, that DLEs in a general adult population sample are significantly associated with a family history of a wide range of mental health disorders," McGrath and team conclude in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics.

They add: "These findings suggest that familial factors associated with DLE may be shared with a wide range of common mental disorders."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Mark Cowen

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