Specificity in familial aggregation of phobic disorders

Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.
Archives of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.48). 08/1995; 52(7):564-73.
Source: PubMed


To investigate whether each of three DSM-III-R phobic disorders (simple phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia with panic attacks) is familial and "breeds true."
Rates of each phobic disorder were contrasted in first-degree relatives of four proband groups: simple phobia, social phobia, agoraphobia with panic attacks, and not ill controls. Phobia probands were patients who had one of the phobia diagnoses but no other lifetime anxiety comorbidity.
We found moderate (two- to fourfold increased risk) but specific familial aggregation of each of the three DSM-III-R phobic disorders.
These results support a specific familial contribution to each of the three phobia types. However, conclusions are limited to cases occurring without lifetime anxiety comorbidity and do not imply homogeneity within categories.

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    • "Parental psychopathology is considered a consistent robust predictor of Social Phobia (Lieb et al. 2000;Wittchen et al. 1999) Panic Disorder (Biederman et al. 2001) and Specific Phobia (Ollendick et al. 2002). In particular, a specific familial aggregation has been observed for simple, social phobia and agoraphobia with panic attacks (Fyer et al. 1995). Other risk factors have included childhood trauma where panic disorder in particular has been previously linked to child physical and sexual abuse (Safren et al. 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Co-occurring psychological disorders are highly prevalent among children and adolescents. To date, the most widely utilised factor model used to explain this co-occurrence is the two factor model of internalising and externalising (Achenbach 1966). Several competing models of general psychopathology have since been reported as alternatives, including a recent three factor model of Distress, Fear and Externalising Dimensions (Krueger 1999). Evidence for the three factor model suggests there are advantages to utilising a more complex model. Using the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey 2004 data (B-CAMHS; N = 7997), confirmatory factor analysis was used to test competing factor structure models of child and adolescent psychopathology. The B-CAMHS was an epidemiological survey of children between the ages of 5 and 16 in Great Britain. Child psychological disorders were assessed using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman 1997), and the Development and Wellbeing Assessment (Goodman et al. 2000). A range of covariates and risk variables including trauma, parent mental health and family functioning where subsequently utilised within a MIMIC model framework to predict each dimension of the 2 and three factor structure models. Two models demonstrated acceptable fit. The first complimented Achenbach's Internalising and Externalising structure. The three factor model was found to have highly comparable fit indices to the two factor model. The second order models did not accurately represent the data nor did an alternative three factor model of Internalising, Externalising and ADHD. The two factor and three factor MIMIC models observed unique profiles of risk for each dimension. The findings suggest that child and adolescent psychopathology may also be accurately conceptualised in terms of distress, fear and externalising dimensions. The MIMIC models demonstrated that the Distress and Fear dimensions have their own unique etiological profile of risk. This study directly informs future measurement models of child and adolescent psychopathology and demonstrates the effectiveness of a three factor model.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
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    • "After considering the various additional explanatory variables, the analyses indicated that the family load estimate explained only 0.0013% of the variance in the manifestation of disorder in the case-probands reflecting both the non-specificity of psychiatric inheritance and the relevance of other factors. Although the higher rates of these disorders among first relatives of affected probands support results reported by previous studies16171819202122, the small amount of only 0.0013% explained variance of the family load of PHO in the present study based on the largest and most representative sample so far indicates that the family aggregation of PHO is smaller than assumed in previous studies. In addition, our finding has to be considered in perspective with our other family aggregation studies revealing a 23% rate of explained variance in schizophrenia[27], a 20% rate in bipolar disorders[28], a 12% rate in anxiety disorders[29], a 6% rate in obsessive compulsive disorders[30], and almost 0% rate in anorexia nervosa[32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This nation-wide register-based study investigated how often phobic disorders (PHO) and co-morbid disorders occur in affected families compared to control families. Furthermore, the study addressed the impact of sex, year of birth, and degree of urbanization in terms of risk factors. Method: A total of N = 746 child and adolescent psychiatric participants born between 1969 and 1986 and registered in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register (DPCRR) with a diagnosis of a mental disorder before the age of 18, and developed PHO at some point during their life-time until a maximum age of 40 years were included. In addition, N = 2229 controls without any diagnosis of mental disorders before age 18 and that were matched for age, sex, and residential region were included. Diagnoses of mental disorders were also obtained from the first- degree relatives as a part of the Danish Three Generation Study (3GS). A family load component was obtained by using various mixed regression models. Results: PHO occurred significantly more often in case than in control families, in particular, in mothers and siblings. Substance use disorders (SUD), Depressive disorders (DEP), anxiety disorders (ANX) and personality disorders (PERS) in the family were significantly associated with specific phobia in the case-probands. After controlling for various mental disorders comorbid to PHO it was found that some of the family transmission could be caused by various other mental disorders in family members rather than the PHO itself. Female sex and more recent year of birth were further risk factors while region of residence was not related to the manifestation of PHO. Case-relatives did not develop PHO earlier than control relatives. After adjusting for various additional explanatory variables, the family load explained only 0.0013% of the variance in the manifestation of PHO in the case-probands. Discussion: These findings, based on a very large and representative dataset, provide evidence for the family aggregation and further risk factors in PHO. In contrast to anxiety disorders and other major mental disorders the family load of PHO in this nation-wide study was rather low.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · PLoS ONE
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    • "According to this line of reasoning, it would be expected that parents who fear being laughed at would also have children who fear being laughed at. Although the fear of being laughed at Laughter and ridicule in parents and children -6 is seen as a personality characteristic at a sub-clinical level (Ruch and Proyer 2008b), it should be noted that there is empirical evidence on familial accumulations in anxiety related disorders (phobias; e.g., Fyer et al. 1995). This may point towards similarities between parents and children in their expression of the fear of being laughed at. "
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    ABSTRACT: Familial aggregation and the effect of parenting styles on three dispositions toward ridicule and being laughed at were tested. Nearly 100 families (parents, their adult children, and their siblings) completed subjective questionnaires to assess the presence of gelotophobia (the fear of being laughed at), gelotophilia (the joy of being laughed at), and katagelasticism (the joy of laughing at others). A positive relationship between fear of being laughed at in children and their parents was found. Results for gelotophilia were similar but numerically lower; if split by gender of the adult child, correlations to the mother’s gelotophilia exceeded those of the father. Katagelasticism arose independently from the scores in the parents but was robustly related to greater katagelasticism in the children’s siblings. Gelotophobes remembered punishment (especially from the mother), lower warmth and higher control from their parents (this was also found in the parents’ recollections of their parenting style). The incidence of gelotophilia was unrelated to specific parenting styles, and katagelasticism exhibited only weak relations with punishment. The study suggests a specific pattern in the relation of the three dispositions within families and argues for a strong impact of parenting styles on gelotophobia but less so for gelotophilia and katagelasticism.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Adult Development
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