BACKGROUND The Edinburgh High-Risk Study is designed to explore the underlying pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
AIMS To establish the sample characteristics of the first 100 subjects in this study of young adults at risk of schizophrenia for genetic reasons, and to compare them with appropriate controls.
METHOD Details of the recruitment of the first 100 high-risk subjects aged 16-25 years into a prospective Scotland-wide study are given. Subjects and 30 age- and gender-matched normal controls were interviewed using the PSE, SADS-L and SIS and an unstructured psychiatric interview.
RESULTS Some significant differences emerged between the high-risk group and the control group, namely in previous psychiatric history (31 v. 6.3%), forensic contacts (19 v. 3.1%) and delinquent behaviour (20 v. 3.1%). There were also differences in some parameters from the SIS: childhood social isolation, interpersonal sensitivity, social isolation, suicidal ideation, restricted affect, oddness and disordered speech.
CONCLUSIONS These differences may represent increased risk of developing schizophrenia although their true significance will not be revealed until the cohort has been followed through the at-risk years.