- (1) Lundbeck Foundation, grid.452548.a
- (2) Mental Health Services, grid.466916.a, Central Denmark Region
- (3) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
- (4) Aarhus University Hospital, grid.154185.c, Central Denmark Region
This study aimed to compare the psychopathological profiles of children at familial high risk of schizophrenia spectrum psychosis (FHR-SZ) or bipolar disorder (FHR-BP) with population-based controls. We used Danish nationwide registers to retrieve a cohort of 522 seven-year-old children of parents with schizophrenia spectrum psychosis (N=202), bipolar disorder (N=120) or none of these disorders (N=200). Psychopathology was assessed by reports from multiple informants, including children, parents and teachers. Lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses were ascertained by blinded raters through the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children. The dimensional assessment of psychopathology was performed by the Child Behavior Checklist, the Teacher's Report Form, a modified version of the ADHD-Rating Scale, the Test Observation Form, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children. Current level of functioning was evaluated using the Children's Global Assessment Scale (CGAS). The prevalence of lifetime psychiatric diagnoses was significantly higher in both FHR-SZ children (38.7%, odds ratio, OR=3.5, 95% confidence interval, CI: 2.2-5.7, p < 0.001) and FHR-BP children (35.6%, OR=3.1, 95% CI: 1.8-5.3, p < 0.001) compared with controls (15.2%). FHR-SZ children displayed significantly more dimensional psychopathology on all scales and subscales compared with controls except for the Anxious subscale of the Test Observation Form. FHR-BP children showed higher levels of dimensional psychopathology on several scales and subscales compared with controls, but lower levels compared with FHR-SZ children. Level of functioning was lower in both FHR-SZ children (CGAS mean score = 68.2; 95% CI: 66.3-70.2, p < 0.0001) and FHR-BP children (73.7; 95% CI: 71.2-76.3, p < 0.05) compared with controls (77.9; 95% CI: 75.9-79.9). In conclusion, already at the age of seven, FHR-SZ and FHR-BP children show a higher prevalence of a broad spectrum of categorical and dimensional psychopathology compared with controls. These results emphasize the need for developing early intervention strategies towards this vulnerable group of children.