Discriminant and canonical variate analyses were performed using 302 patients, on whom ratings of lifetime psychopathology and course of illness has been made. DSM-III diagnoses were used to form the criterion groups. Bipolar disorder emerged as a distinct grouping, but there are reasons for dissatisfaction with its definition. The remaining patients formed a 'schizodepressive continuum', but this also had a tendency to bimodality. It is possible that the distinction between schizophrenia and depression was obscured by inadequacies in the data and the inclusion of excessive numbers of patients with schizoaffective depression in this study.