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The influence of religious activity and polygenic schizophrenia risk on religious delusions in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia research

Authors: Heike Anderson-Schmidt, Katrin Gade, Dörthe Malzahn, Sergi Papiol, Monika Budde, Urs Heilbronner, Daniela Reich-Erkelenz, Kristina Adorjan, Janos L Kalman, Fanny Senner, Ashley L Comes, Laura Flatau, Anna Gryaznova, Maria Hake, Markus Reitt, Max Schmauß, Georg Juckel, Jens Reimer, Jörg Zimmermann, Christian Figge, Eva Reininghaus, Ion-George Anghelescu, Carsten Konrad, Andreas Thiel, Martin von Hagen, Manfred Koller, Sebastian Stierl, Harald Scherk, Carsten Spitzer, Here Folkerts, Thomas Becker, Detlef E Dietrich, Till F M Andlauer, Franziska Degenhardt, Markus M Nöthen, Stephanie H Witt, Marcella Rietschel, Jens Wiltfang, Peter Falkai, Thomas G Schulze

BACKGROUND: Religious delusions are a common symptom in patients experiencing psychosis, with varying prevalence rates of religious delusions across cultures and societies. To enhance our knowledge of this distinct psychotic feature, we investigated the mutually-adjusted association of genetic and environmental factors with occurrence of religious delusions.

METHODS: We studied 262 adult German patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Association with lifetime occurrence of religious delusions was tested by multiple logistic regression for the following putative predictors: self-reported degree of religious activity, DSM-IV diagnosis, sex, age, education level, marital status, presence of acute delusion at the time of interview and an individual polygenic schizophrenia-risk score (SZ-PRS, available in 239 subjects).

RESULTS: Of the 262 patients, 101 (39%) had experienced religious delusions. The risk of experiencing religious delusions was significantly increased in patients with strong religious activity compared to patients without religious affiliation (OR = 3.6, p = 0.010). Low or moderate religious activity had no significant effect. The same analysis including the SZ-PRS confirmed the effect of high religious activity on occurrence of religious delusions (OR = 4.1, p = 0.008). Additionally, the risk of experiencing religious delusions increased with higher SZ-PRS (OR 1.4, p = 0.020, using pT = 0.05 for SZ-PRS calculation). None of the other variables were significantly associated with lifetime occurrence of religious delusions.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that strong religious activity and high SZ-PRS are independent risk factors for the occurrence of religious delusions in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.

PMID: 30611655

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