Early-life origins of schizotypal traits in adulthood

Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Aug;195(2):132-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.054387.


Background: Although schizotypal traits, such as anhedonia and aberrant perceptions, may increase the risk for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, little is known about early-life characteristics that predict more pronounced schizotypal traits.

Aims: To examine whether birth size or several other early-life factors that have been previously linked with schizophrenia predict schizotypal traits in adulthood.

Method: Participants of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort Study (n = 4976) completed a questionnaire on positive and negative schizotypal traits at the age of 31 years.

Results: Lower placental weight, lower birth weight and smaller head circumference at 12 months predicted elevated positive schizotypal traits in women after adjusting for several confounders (P<0.02). Moreover, higher gestational age, lower childhood family socioeconomic status, undesirability of pregnancy, winter/autumn birth, higher birth order and maternal smoking during pregnancy predicted some augmented schizotypal traits in women, some in men and some in both genders.

Conclusions: The results point to similarities in the aetiology of schitzotypal traits and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Order
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Size
  • Cephalometry / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Placenta / anatomy & histology
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder / etiology*
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*