The British Journal of Psychiatry


In order to test the hypothesis that bipolar (manic-depressive) patients may be distinguished on the basis of family history, the authors have investigated two matched samples of 30 patients each, distinguished by the presence or absence of a family history for manic-depressive illness. Among the variables studied are socio-economic and civil status, clinical features of illness and hospitalization patterns. Family history is associated with onset of illness and with other key features of the course of illness. Models are presented which may explain these results.