Social Cognition, Language, and Social Behavior in 7-Year-Old Children at Familial High-Risk of Developing Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder: The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study VIA 7-A Population-Based Cohort Study

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Camilla Jerlang Christiani, Jens R M Jepsen, Anne Thorup, Nicoline Hemager, Ditte Ellersgaard, Katrine S Spang, Birgitte K Burton, Maja Gregersen, Anne Søndergaard, Aja N Greve, Ditte L Gantriis, Gry Poulsen, Md Jamal Uddin, Larry J Seidman, Ole Mors, Kerstin J Plessen, Merete Nordentoft

OBJECTIVE: To characterize social cognition, language, and social behavior as potentially shared vulnerability markers in children at familial high-risk of schizophrenia (FHR-SZ) and bipolar disorder (FHR-BP).

METHODS: The Danish High-Risk and Resilience Study VIA7 is a multisite population-based cohort of 522 7-year-old children extracted from the Danish registries. The population-based controls were matched to the FHR-SZ children on age, sex, and municipality. The FHR-BP group followed same inclusion criteria. Data were collected blinded to familial high-risk status. Outcomes were social cognition, language, and social behavior.

RESULTS: The analysis included 202 FHR-SZ children (girls: 46%), 120 FHR-BP children (girls: 46.7%), and 200 controls (girls: 46.5%). FHR-SZ children displayed significant deficits in language (receptive: d = -0.27, P = .006; pragmatic: d = -0.51, P < .001), social responsiveness (d = -0.54, P < .001), and adaptive social functioning (d = -0.47, P < .001) compared to controls after Bonferroni correction. Compared to FHR-BP children, FHR-SZ children performed significantly poorer on adaptive social functioning (d = -0.29, P = .007) after Bonferroni correction. FHR-BP and FHR-SZ children showed no significant social cognitive impairments compared to controls after Bonferroni correction.

CONCLUSION: Language, social responsiveness, and adaptive social functioning deficits seem associated with FHR-SZ but not FHR-BP in this developmental phase. The pattern of results suggests adaptive social functioning impairments may not be shared between FHR-BP and FHR-SZ in this developmental phase and thus not reflective of the shared risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1218-1230
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 224711841