The role of HLA in susceptibility to affective disorders was assessed by sib pair linkage analysis and by association studies. Unipolar Disorder (UD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) were studied separately. Both the sib pair data and the antigen frequency distribution suggested an HLA-linked susceptibility to UD. For BD however, the HLA haplotype sharing distribution in sib pairs was random, but the antigen frequencies suggested at least one positive association and one negative association with HLA. The lack of evidence for linkage to HLA from sib pairs may have been due to the genetic heterogeneity of BD.