Familial Psychiatric Illness and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Findings From a Family Study of Substance Abuse and Anxiety Disorders. [CME]
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(9):715-720
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Aside from the possibility of a
direct relationship between individual and familial posttraumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), there is accumulating evidence that
implicates a family history of psychiatric and substance use
disorders as an important risk factor in the development of PTSD
and associated symptoms.
Method: The familial risk of DSM-III-R PTSD was
examined within a family study of clinical- and
community-ascertained probands (N = 263) and their 1206 adult
Results: Although PTSD among probands was not
found to significantly elevate the risk of PTSD among
first-degree relatives, an elevated rate of PTSD was found among
the relatives of drug abusing probands compared with the
relatives of probands with alcoholism, other anxiety disorders,
and normal controls. Additionally, affective disorders were
significantly associated with PTSD in relatives (p < .01).
When these familial and individual associations were examined
according to gender, drug disorders in probands were
significantly associated with PTSD only among male relatives (p
< .01), while the association between PTSD and comorbid
affective disorders was seen primarily among female relatives (p
Conclusion: Although probands in the present
family study were not selected specifically for PTSD, the data
afforded a unique opportunity to examine the profile of familial
psychopathology as a part of the complex picture of
susceptibility for PTSD. Future family study research will be
able to determine the generalizability of the present findings
through more complete measurement of diverse forms of trauma.