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Neighbourhood variation in incidence of schizophrenia: Evidence for person-environment interaction

  • Jim Van Os (a1), Ger Driessen (a1), Nicole Gunther (a1) and Philippe Delespaul (a1)
Abstract
Background

Neighbourhood characteristics may influence the risk of psychosis, independently of their individual-level equivalents.

Aims

To examine these issues in a multi-level model of schizophrenia incidence.

Method

Cases of schizophrenia, incident between 1986 and 1997, were identified from the Maastricht Mental Health Case Register. A multi-level analysis was conducted to examine the independent effects of individual-level and neighbourhood-level variables in 35 neighbourhoods.

Results

Independent of individual-level single and divorced marital status, an effect of the proportion of single persons and proportion of divorced persons in a neighbourhood was apparent (per 1% increase respectively: RR=1.02; 95% CI 1.00–1.03; and RR=1.12, 95% CI 1.04–1.2.1). Single marital status interacted with the neighbourhood proportion of single persons, the effect being stronger in neighbourhoods with fewer single-person households.

Conclusions

The neighbourhood environment modifies the individual risk for schizophrenia. Premorbid vulnerability resulting in single marital status may be more likely to progress to overt disease in an environment with a higher perceived level of social isolation.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr J. van Os, Maastricht University, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Tel: + 31 43 3299783; Fax: + 31 43 3299708
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Declaration of interest

Supported by the Dutch Ministry of Health.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Neighbourhood variation in incidence of schizophrenia: Evidence for person-environment interaction

  • Jim Van Os (a1), Ger Driessen (a1), Nicole Gunther (a1) and Philippe Delespaul (a1)
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