2013 issue 2

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Volume 22, issue 2

Review article

Heredity of mental disorders – a review of the Polish psychiatric literature in the Interwar Period

Ryszard Kujawski1
1. Wojewódzki Szpital dla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych, Świecie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2013; 22(2): 137-147
Keywords: heredity, mental disorders, history of Polish psychiatry

Abstract

Aim. The aim of the article was to present research publications and views on the heredity of mental disorders in the first half of the twentieth century, mainly in the interwar period in Poland.
Review. The article cites various items of Polish, mainly psychiatric, literature of the first half of the twentieth century, indicates the methods which were used in the study of heredity (family studies, statistical studies), describes various aspects of the debate on heredity of mental disorders (phenotype, genotype, monogenic, polygenic inheritance, mutations, Mendelian inheritance and includes the classification of hereditary diseases of the nervous system).
Conclusions. Initially, consideration of the heredity of mental illness was associated with degeneration theory, popular in the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the twentieth century the study of heredity in psychiatry was associated with eugenics and social hygiene. In the 1930s a theoretical basis for the discussion of sterilization emerged. Psychiatrists postulated the creation of the Polish institute for the study of heredity. Juliusz Morawski (1878-1928), Stefan Borowiecki (1881-1937) and Karol Mikulski (1901-1940) were the most prominent Polish psychiatrists involved with the heredity of mental disorders.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Ryszard Kujawski
Wojewódzki Szpital dla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych
ul. Sądowa 18, 86-100 Świecie
e-mail: rykuj@op.pl