People with psychiatric disorders appear more likely to be attracted to others with mental illness. And not only is this “assortative mating” found across many different types of mental illnesses, the correlations between spouses sharing psychiatric disorders is much higher than spouses with similar personalities or height, according to research published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Ashley Nordsletten, PhD, from the Department of Clinical Neuroscience in Sweden and colleagues found that the correlation between spouses for psychiatric disorders was extremely high: while correlation between spouses for physical traits such as height and weight was only approximately 0.20, and the correlation between spouses for personality was only 0.10, spouse tetrachoric correlations were greater than 0.40 for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and schizophrenia.
Substance abuse was the next highest spouse correlation ranging from 0.36-0.39. For other disorders, including affective disorders, assortative mating was significant but less substantial, ranging from 0.14-0.19.
The JAMA articles