Objectives. Using the available databases such as PubMed, Embase and the Polish Medical Bibliography, a thorough review was made of recently published English- and Polish-language studies and reports presenting comparisons between individuals with schizophrenia, mood disorders or neurotic disorders and their healthy siblings. The following key words were used in the bibliographic database search: mental disorders, healthy siblings, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders.
Review. Recent research findings provide more and more evidence of both structural and functional abnormalities in healthy siblings of persons suffering from mental disorders. Identification and description of these abnormalities may contribute to our better understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the effect of genetic and environmental factors on the onset of mental disorders.
Conclusions. The literature on schizophrenia research, especially that concerning neurocognitive dysfunctions, is definitely the most abundant [1‒9]. The majority of publications pertaining to persons with mental illness and their healthy siblings are focused on pathogenesis of mental disorders and the role of familial and environmental factors in their origin. The issue of the role of siblings in the lives of people with mental disorders is less oft en dealt with.