The heritability of delusional-like experiences

Varghese, D., Wray, N. R., Scott, J. G., Williams, G. M., Najman, J. M. and McGrath, J. J. (2013) The heritability of delusional-like experiences. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 127 1: 48-52. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01905.x

Author Varghese, D.
Wray, N. R.
Scott, J. G.
Williams, G. M.
Najman, J. M.
McGrath, J. J.
Title The heritability of delusional-like experiences
Journal name Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0001-690X
Publication date 2013-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01905.x
Volume 127
Issue 1
Start page 48
End page 52
Total pages 5
Place of publication Malden MA, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Delusional-like experiences (DLE) are common in the general community and are associated with a family history of mental illness. The aim of this study was to estimate the heritability of DLE.

The Peter,s Delusional Inventory (PDI) was administered to a population-based cohort of mothers (n = 2861, aged 35–67 years) and their adult offspring (n = 3079, aged 18–23 years). Heritability of DLE was estimated from the sum scores of the 21 item PDI under the assumption that the covariance between mother–offspring scores is attributable to shared additive genetic factors.

The means (medians and standard deviations) for the total PDI scores for the mothers and their offspring were 3.6 (3.0, 3.0) and 5.0 (4.0, 3.5), respectively. The Pearson correlation coefficient between mother and offspring PDI scores was 0.17 (P < 0.001). The heritability was estimated to be 0.35 (standard error 0.04).


Heritable factors contribute to over a third of the variance of PDI scores in this population. In light of the association between a family history of a wide range of mental disorders and DLE, these experiences may represent a useful quantitative endophenotype for genetic studies of common mental disorders in population settings.
Keyword Delusional-like experiences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 10 August 2012.

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Created: Wed, 22 Aug 2012, 17:54:19 EST by James Scott on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital