Objective: In our investigation we assessed the risk of morbidity for psychiatric disorders among the first-degree relatives of patients with seasonal affective disorders (SAD) and compared it with a control group of patients suffering from nonseasonal mood disorders (NSMD). Methods: Over a period of 12 months (June 1994 to May 1995) we recruited patients consecutively admitted to our psychiatric university outpatient clinic in a prospective study. All patients were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, revised 4th edition. A total of 344 patients presented themselves with a diagnosis of affective disorder. Out of these, 36 were diagnosed as having SAD. From the same group of 344 patients, we selected a matched control group of 36 patients suffering from NSMD. The experimental and control groups were matched according to sex, age, severity of illness and number of siblings. Results: There was no significant difference concerning the lifetime prevalences for psychiatric disorders among the fist-degree relatives in both groups (SAD = 16.5% and NSMD = 19%). Conclusion: It seems that there is no difference in familiarity for psychiatric disorders between SAD and NSMD.

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