Clinical methods in psychiatric genetics: II. The high risk approach

L. R. Goldin, J. I. Nurnberger, E. S. Gershon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Scopus citations


Abstract— The study of individuals at “high” risk for developing psychiatric disorders is useful in confirming that a biological trait marker identified in patient populations is also present in genetically susceptible individuals who have never been ill, and predicts the future onset of illness. We outline a systematic method for deciding which variables to choose and how many individuals are required in order for a study to have sufficient power. We demonstrate how these decisions depend on the assumptions that can be made with regard to 1) the mode of inheritance of the biological trait, 2) the relationship of the biological trait to illness, and 3) the magnitude of the mean difference observed between patients and controls. We also quantify the increased power of studying offspring of two affected parents rather than offspring of one affected parent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • genetic methods.
  • high risk studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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