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Number of older siblings of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0920-9964(00)00134-1
  • Birth Order
  • Neurosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Season Of Birth
  • Sibship Size
  • Urban Birth
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract One of the most consistent epidemiological findings in schizophrenia research is the small excess of late winter/early spring births. There is also evidence that schizophrenia is associated with urban birth and with later birth order. One interpretation of these three findings is that respiratory viral infections brought into the household by children in crowded areas could disrupt foetal brain development and predispose to schizophrenia in later life. To further explore this hypothesis, case register data were used to assess if schizophrenics with a greater number of older siblings are more likely to be born in urban areas and during late winter/early spring months. Data from the Dublin and Three County Case Register were compiled relating to 2969 patients with schizophrenia and 5904 patients with neurosis. We used logistic regression analysis to determine if the number of older siblings differentiated schizophrenia from neurosis after controlling for the effects of gender, urban/rural birth, season of birth and sibship size, and to examine whether any interactions existed. The number of older siblings did not predict a diagnosis of schizophrenia over neurosis. There was no interaction between number of older siblings and urban birth, between number of older siblings and spring birth, or between number of older siblings, season of birth and urban birth. These data do not support the hypothesis that schizophrenia, by comparison with neurosis, is associated with an increased number of older siblings or that there is an interaction between number of older siblings, urban birth or season of birth.

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