When looking for love, people with psychiatric disorders tend to look toward their own, one new study suggests. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report in JAMA Psychiatry that they combed the health histories of 707,263 people admitted to hospitals in Sweden between 1973 and 2009 and who had at least one psychiatric disorder—70,000 alone had schizophrenia, while 10 other major psychiatric disorders were also represented. Researchers also noted people with certain physical illnesses such as diabetes and MS. What they found is that those with psychiatric disorders are both far more likely to marry someone who also has a disorder as well as have children with them—a finding that did not carry over with people with physical illnesses.
What drives the matchmaking? A psychologist tells Live Science that not only do people with psychiatric disorders often have a harder time building relationships, but people without such disorders are often less willing to accept partners with them. But, as Wired notes: "This doesn’t mean that your future spouse’s name is spelled out in the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs of your genetic code. [These] numbers are significant, but the effect is tiny. Which is probably fine, because sharing the same psychiatric disorder might not necessarily convey compatibility." The researchers say a "natural companion" to this enormous trove of data is the psychiatric future of the offspring of these couples.