June 11, 2006

Social class and type of schizophrenia

A new research study done in the US by researchers at Villanova University and published this month in European Psychiatry covered the issue of social class and schizophrenia.

The study reported that current and past research strongly indicates a high prevalence of schizophrenia in the lower income class in the USA and other stratified societies. To date, no study has tested for a connection between type of schizophrenia and socioeconomic status. The researchers therefore tested for an interrelationship between schizophrenic subtype, socioeconomic status and race.

The results of their study indicated a distinct increased risk for deficit schizophrenia to be elevated among the poor. The finding presents as a pure socioeconomic effect since the likelihood of deficit schizophrenia does not vary by race when social class is held constant.

The conclusion is that the study offers a better understanding for poor outcome among lower class patients in stratified societies such as the United States. It is also consistent with longitudinal research by European investigators.

Source: Social class and type of schizophrenia. European Psychiatry. 2006 Jun 6;

For more information on why schizophrenia may occur at higher rates in the lower income /lower classes in the US - see the following links:

Pregnancy / Prenatal Care Judged Poor in USA, Increasing Schizophrenia Risks

US Congressmen took $50 million in free trips & Why Health Insurance is So Poor in the USA


Are they talking about people who
are poor by dint of their socioeconomic upbringing?
The effects of mental illness can result in what is called 'social
I am a prime example of this i
went to an English prep and public school.My upbringing was
solidly middle class.Father worked for foreign office(consul general) .
I live in council tower block.
Do not work due to illness and
would be described as being an E in terms of social class.
My sister who works as a corporate interior designer would be described as an B.

Posted by: Teejai at June 12, 2006 04:10 AM

What you mentioned is certainly true with regard to "social drift" - but I believe that they are talking about the idea that children born to poor parents are more likely to get schizophrenia - which would make sense given the tendancy for worse prenatal care in poorer populations, and higher social stress, and other factors that are linked with higher risk for schizophrenia.

Posted by: Sz Administrator at June 12, 2006 12:30 PM

Could it be that mental illness is more easily hidden , dealt with , even treated when money is available?

Posted by: mhz at June 13, 2006 08:58 AM

This reminds me of that study that found a 10-fold increase in chances of developing Schizophrenia in Great Britain if you were of african descent.

What would be logical research findings would be that the higher your social class, the higher your chances of being diagnosed Schizophrenic. Poor people are less likely to go out a seek a therapist for their mental problems. The fact that it's the other way around, may give credence to reports of the label "Schizophrenia" being used to control dissent and crime in western populations.

Posted by: John at June 18, 2006 04:42 PM

i see no compelling evidence that the poor get schizophrenia more often; it needs a differently designed study. poor people are more likely to seek out public agencies, which biases the data collected. wealthier people are more likely to see private doctors and to have less of a presence in the statistics. for example, a number of my wealthier friends never use their insurance for any mental health treatment, they pay it all out of pocket, don't go to public hospitals, and don't use clinics, and studies of occurances often collect data in such a way that their statistics are missed.

Posted by: slc at June 20, 2006 10:02 AM

please note that other studies have found a higher rate of schiz. in specific wealthy upper class groups, in people living in ideal, rural situations in kibbutz with excellent health and child care and very high lifestyle satisfaction, in specific groups in absolutely idyllic rural communities, and that one of the highest rates of schiz in the world ins in one of the most rural beautiful areas on the whole planet.

Posted by: slc at June 22, 2006 03:19 PM

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