Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Incidence of Operationally Defined Schizophrenia in Camberwell, 1965–84

  • David Castle (a1), Simon Wessely (a2), Geoffrey Der (a3) and Robin M. Murray (a4)


We established first-contact rates of schizophrenia in the defined area of Camberwell between 1965 and 1984. The rate of schizophrenia, whether defined by ICD, RDC, or DSM–III criteria, rose over the period under study. This finding is at odds with reports of an overall decline in first-admission rates for schizophrenia in England, over the same period. The discrepancy was largely accounted for by the influx into Camberwell of individuals of Afro-Caribbean origin, who showed rates of schizophrenia between four and eight times that of their Caucasian counterparts.


Corresponding author

Genetics Section, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF


Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (1980) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edn) (DSM–III). Washington, DC: APA.
Crow, T. J. (1990) Trends in schizophrenia. Lancet, 335, 851.
Cooper, J. E., Goodhead, D., Craig, T., et al (1987) The incidence of schizophrenia in Nottingham. British Journal of Psychiatry, 151, 619626.
De Alarcon, J., Seagroatt, V. & Goldacre, M. (1990) Trends in schizophrenia. Lancet, 335, 852853.
Dean, C., Walsh, D., Downing, H., et al (1981) First admissions of native-born and immigrants to psychiatric hospitals in southeast England 1976. British Journal of Psychiatry, 139, 506512.
Der, C., Gupta, S. & Murray, R. M. (1990) Is schizophrenia disappearing? Lancet, 335, 513516.
Dickson, W. E. & Kendell, R. E. (1986) Does maintenance lithium therapy prevent recurrence of mania under ordinary clinical conditions? Psychological Medicine, 16, 521530.
Eagles, J. M. & Whalley, L. J. (1985) Decline in the diagnosis of schizophrenia among first admissions to Scottish mental hospitals from 1969–1978. British Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 151154.
Eagles, J. M., Hunter, D. & McCance, C. (1988) Decline in the diagnosis of schizophrenia among first contacts with the psychiatric services in north-east Scotland, 1969–1984. British Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 793798.
Farmer, A. E., McGuffin, P. & Gottesman, I. I. (1987) Twin-concordance for DSM III schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 634641.
Graham, P. M. (1990) Trends in schizophrenia. Lancet, 335, 852.
Harrison, G., Owens, D., Holton, A., et al (1988) A prospective study of severe mental disorder in Afro-Caribbean patients. Psychological Medicine, 18, 643657.
Institute of Psychiatry Training Committee (1973) Notes on Eliciting and Recording Clinical Information. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Joyce, P. R. (1987) Changing trends in first admissions and readmissions for mania and schizophrenia in New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 21, 8286.
Kendell, R. E. (1988) Schizophrenia. In Companion to Psychiatric Studies (eds Kendell, R. E. & Zealley, A. K.), pp. 310334. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
McGovern, D. & Cope, R. V. (1987) First psychiatric admission rates of first and second-generation Afro-Caribbeans. Social Psychiatry, 22, 139149.
McGuffin, P., Farmer, A. E., Gottesman, I. I., et al (1984) Twin-concordance for operationally defined schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 541545.
McGuffin, P., Farmer, A. E. & Harvey, I. (1991) A polydiagnostic application of operational criteria in studies of psychotic illness: development and reliability of the OPCRIT system. Archives of General Psychiatry, 48, 764770
Munk-Jorgensen, P. (1986) Decreasing first-admission rates of schizophrenia among males in Denmark from 1970 to 1984: changing diagnostic patterns? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 73, 645650.
Munk-Jorgensen, P. & Jorgensen, P. (1986) Decreasing rates of first admission diagnoses of schizophrenia among females in Denmark 1970–1984. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 74, 379383.
Parker, G., O'Donnall, M. & Walter, S. (1985) Changes in the diagnoses of the functional psychoses associated with the introduction of lithium. British Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 377382.
Prince, M. J. & Phelan, M. C. (1990) Trends in schizophrenia. Lancet, 335, 851852.
Rwegellera, G. G. C. (1977) Psychiatric morbidity among West Africans and West Indians living in London. Psychological Medicine, 335, 851852.
Spitzer, R. L., Endicott, J. & Robins, E. (1978) Research Diagnostic Criteria: rationale and reliability. Archives of General Psychiatry, 35, 773782.
Wing, J. K. & Hailey, A. M. (1972) Evaluating a Community Psychiatric Service: The Camberwell Register, 1964–1971. London: Oxford University Press.
Wing, J. K., Cooper, J. E. & Sartorius, N. (1974) The Measurement and Classification of Psychiatric Symptoms. London: Cambridge University Press.
World Health Organization (1978) Mental Disorders: Glossary and Guide to their Classification in Accordance with the Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD–9). Geneva: WHO.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

The Incidence of Operationally Defined Schizophrenia in Camberwell, 1965–84

  • David Castle (a1), Simon Wessely (a2), Geoffrey Der (a3) and Robin M. Murray (a4)
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *