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The lifetime prevalence rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1% [1]. However, a 2002 systematic review of many studies found a lifetime prevalence of 0.55%.[2]

Effects of cultural contextEdit

Despite the received wisdom that schizophrenia occurs at similar rates worldwide, its prevalence varies across the world,[3] within countries,[4] and at the local and neighbourhood level.[5]

Relationship with urbanizationEdit

However it does seem to be more prevent in urban areas of industrialized countries. [6]. One particularly stable and replicable finding has been the association between living in an urban environment and schizophrenia diagnosis, even after factors such as drug use, ethnic group and size of social group have been controlled for.[7]


Schizophrenia occurs equally in males and females, although typically appears earlier in men—the peak ages of onset are 20–28 years for males and 26–32 years for females.[8]


Onset in childhood is much rarer,[9] as is onset in middle- or old age.[10]


  1. Kieth S.J., Regier, D.A. & Rae,D.S> (1991). Schizophenic disorders. In L.N. Robins & D.A. Regier (Eds) Psychiatic Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study(p33-52) New York:Free Press.
  2. Goldner EM, Hsu L, Waraich P, Somers JM. Prevalence and incidence studies of schizophrenic disorders: a systematic review of the literature. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2002;47(9):833–43. PMID 12500753.
  3. Jablensky A. Schizophrenia: manifestations, incidence and course in different cultures. A World Health Organization ten-country study. Psychological Medicine Monograph Supplement. 1992;20:1–97. doi:10.1017/S0264180100000904. PMID 1565705.
  4. Kirkbride JB, Fearon P, Morgan C, et al.. Heterogeneity in incidence rates of schizophrenia and other psychotic syndromes: findings from the 3-center AeSOP study. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2006;63(3):250–8. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.3.250. PMID 16520429.
  5. Kirkbride JB. Neighbourhood variation in the incidence of psychotic disorders in Southeast London. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2007;42(6):438–45. doi:10.1007/s00127-007-0193-0. PMID 17473901.
  6. Peen, J. & Dekker, J. (1997). Admission rates for schizophrenia in the Netherlands: An urban/rural comparision. Acta Psychiatrica Scaninavica, 96, 301-305.
  7. Van Os J. Does the urban environment cause psychosis?. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2004;184(4):287–288. doi:10.1192/bjp.184.4.287. PMID 15056569.
  8. Castle D, Wessely S, Der G, Murray RM. The incidence of operationally defined schizophrenia in Camberwell, 1965-84. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 1991;159:790–4. doi:10.1192/bjp.159.6.790. PMID 1790446.
  9. Kumra S. Childhood-onset schizophrenia: research update. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2001;46(10):923–30. PMID 11816313.
  10. Hassett, Anne, et al. (eds) (2005). Psychosis in the Elderly, London: Taylor and Francis..

Further readingEdit

Key Texts – BooksEdit

Additional material – BooksEdit

Key Texts – PapersEdit

  • Bijl R, Ravelli A, van Zessen G. Prevalence of psychiatric disorder in the general population: results of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 1998;33:587–95.
  • Bourdon KH, Rae DS, Locke BZ, Narrow WE, Regier DA. Estimating the prevalence of mental disorders in US adults from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey. Public Health Rep 1992;107:663–8.
  • Chen CN, Wong J, Lee N, Chan-Ho M-W, Lau JT, Fung M. The Shatin Community Mental Health Survey in Hong Kong. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1993;50:125–33.
  • Clayer JR, McFarlane AC, Bookless CL, Air T, Wright G, Czechowicz AS. Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in rural South Australia. Med J Aust 1995;163:124–9.
  • Harvey CA, Pantelis C, Taylor J, McCabe PJ, Lefevre K, Campbell PG, and others. The Camden Schizophrenia Surveys. II. High prevalence of schizophrenia in an inner London borough and its relationship to socio-demographic factors. Br J Psychiatry 1996;168:418–26.
  • Jeffreys SE, Harvey CA, McNaught AS, Quayle AS, King MB, Bird AS. The Hampstead Schizophrenia Survey 1991. I: Prevalence and service use comparisons in an inner London health authority, 1986-1991. Br J Psychiatry 1997;170:301–6.
  • Kendler KS, Gallagher TJ, Abelson JM, Kessler RC. Lifetime prevalence, demographic risk factors, and diagnostic validity of nonaffective psychosis as assessed in a US community sample. The National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996;53:1022–31.
  • Kessler RC, McGonagle KA, Zhao S, Nelson CB, Hughes M, Eshleman S, and others. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States. Results from the National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1994;51:8–19.
  • Regier DA, Narrow WE, Rae DS, Manderscheid RW, Locke BZ, Goodwin FK. The de facto United States mental and addictive disorders service system. epidemiologic catchment area prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1993;50(2):85–94.
  • Torrey EF. Prevalence studies in schizophrenia. Br J Psychiatry 1987;150:598–608.
  • Widerlov B, Lindstrom E, von Knorring L. One-year prevalence of long-term functional psychosis in three different areas of Uppsala. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1997;96:452–8.
  • Wittchen H-U, Essau CA, von Zerssen D, Krieg J-C, Zaudig M. Lifetime and six-month prevalence of mental disorders in the Munich Follow-up Study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 1992;241:247–58.

Additional material - PapersEdit

External linksEdit

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