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Urban–rural differences in incidence rates of psychiatric disorders in Denmark

  • Evangelos Vassos (a1), Esben Agerbo (a2), Ole Mors (a3) and Carsten Bøcker Pedersen (a2)

Abstract

Background

People born in densely populated areas have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism.

Aims

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether urban–rural differences in place of birth influence a broad range of mental disorders.

Method

Population-based cohort study of everyone born in Denmark between 1955 and 2006 (n = 2 894 640). Main outcome measures were incidence rate ratios for five levels of urbanisation and summary estimates contrasting birth in the capital with birth in rural areas.

Results

For all psychiatric disorders, except intellectual disability (ICD-10 ‘mental retardation’) and behavioural and emotional disorders with onset in childhood, people born in the capital had a higher incidence than people born in rural areas.

Conclusions

Birth in an urban environment is associated with an increased risk for mental illness in general and for a broad range of specific psychiatric disorders. Given this new evidence that urban–rural differences in incidence are not confined to the well-studied psychotic disorders, further work is needed to identify the underlying aetiopathogenic mechanisms.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Evangelos Vassos, Box P082, MRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. Email: evangelos.vassos@kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Urban–rural differences in incidence rates of psychiatric disorders in Denmark

  • Evangelos Vassos (a1), Esben Agerbo (a2), Ole Mors (a3) and Carsten Bøcker Pedersen (a2)

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Urban–rural differences in incidence rates of psychiatric disorders in Denmark

  • Evangelos Vassos (a1), Esben Agerbo (a2), Ole Mors (a3) and Carsten Bøcker Pedersen (a2)
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