Psychiatric Disorders in Foster Home Reared Children of Schizophrenic Mothers

LEONARD L. HESTON

Abstract

This report compares the psycho-social adjustment of 47 adults born to schizophrenic mothers with 50 control adults, where all subjects had been separated from their natural mothers from the first few days of life. The comparison is based on a review of school, police, veterans, and hospital, among several other records, plus a personal interview and MMPI which were administered to 72 subjects. An I.Q. and social class determination were also available. Three psychiatrists independently rated the subjects.

The results were:

(1) Schizophrenic and sociopathic personality disorders were found in those persons born to schizophrenic persons in an excess exceeding chance expectation at the 0.05 level of probability. Five of 47 persons born to schizophrenic mothers were schizophrenic. No cases of schizophrenia were found in 50 control subjects.

(2) Several other comparisons, such as persons given other psychiatric diagnoses, felons, and persons discharged from the Armed Forces for psychiatric or behavioural reasons, demonstrated a significant excess of psycho-social disability in about one-half of the persons born to schizophrenic mothers.

(3) The remaining one-half of the persons born to schizophrenic mothers were notably successful adults. They possessed artistic talents and demonstrated imaginative adaptations to life which were uncommon in the control group.