Project among African-Americans to explore risks for schizophrenia (PAARTNERS): recruitment and assessment methods

Schizophr Res. 2006 Oct;87(1-3):32-44. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2006.06.027. Epub 2006 Aug 2.


The Project among African-Americans to Explore Risks for Schizophrenia (PAARTNERS) is a multi-site, NIMH-funded study that seeks to identify genetic polymorphisms that confer susceptibility to schizophrenia among African-Americans by linkage mapping and targeted association analyses. Because deficits in certain dimensions of cognitive ability are thought to underlie liability to schizophrenia, the project also examines cognitive abilities in individuals affected by schizophrenia and their extended family members. This article describes PAARTNERS study design, ascertainment methods and preliminary sample characteristics. We aim to recruit a sample of 1260 African-American families, all of whom have at least one proband with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The data collection protocol includes a structured Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies, Family Interview for Genetic Studies, focused neurocognitive assessment, medical records review, and the collection of blood or buccal cells for genetic analyses. We have currently completed study procedures for 106 affected sib-pair, 457 case-parent trio and 23 multiplex families. A total of 289 probands have completed the best estimate final diagnosis process and 1153 probands and family members have been administered the computerized neuropsychological battery. This project lays the foundation for future analysis of cognitive and behavioral endophenotypes. This novel integration of diagnostic, neurocognitive and genetic data will also generate valuable information for future phenotypic and genetic studies of schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / genetics*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Demography
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Patient Selection*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / blood
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Severity of Illness Index