Hereditary factors in sleepwalking and night terrors

A. Kales, C. R. Soldatos, E. O. Bixler, R. L. Ladda, D. S. Charney, G. Weber, P. K. Schweitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


The families of 25 probands with sleepwalking and 27 probands with night terrors were studied. Eighty per cent of the sleepwalking pedigrees and 96% of the night terror pedigrees included 1 or more individuals, other than the proband, who were affected by sleepwalking, night terrors, or both. The authors' data appear to fit a '2 threshold' multifactorial mode of inheritance. This finding supports the hypothesis that sleepwalking and night terrors share a common genetic predisposition, with sleepwalking being a more prevalent and less severe manifestation of the same substrate that underlies night terrors. Heritable factors predispose an individual to develop sleepwalking and/or night terrors, but expression of the trait may be influenced by environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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