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Poverty is even more strongly related to schizophrenia and psychosis than to other mental disorders (Read, 2004). British children raised in economic deprivation are four times more likely to develop nonschizophrenic disorders, but are eight times more likely to grow up to be schizophrenic. Even among those with no family history of psychosis, deprived children are seven times more likely to develop schizophrenia, suggesting genetic predisposition to developing schizophrenia is not the whole story (Harrison et al, 2001). Similarly, the relationship between urban living and schizophrenia remains after controlling for family history of psychiatric disorder (Lewis et al 1992, Mortensen et al, 1999).


  • Harrison G, Gunnell D, Glazebrook C, Page K, Kwiecinski R. (2001). Association between schizophrenia and social inequality at birth. Br J Psychiatry ;179(4):346-350.
  • Lewis G, David A, Andreasson S.(1992) Schizophrenia and city life. Lancet ;340:137-140.
  • Mortensen P, Pedersen C, Westergaard T, Wohlfahrt J, Ewald H, Mors O, et al.(1999) Effects of family history and place and season of birth on the risk of schizophrenia.

New Engl J Med ;340(8):603-608.

  • Read J. (2004).Poverty, ethnicity and gender. In: Read J, Mosher L, Bentall R, editors. Models of madness: psychological, social and biological approaches to schizophrenia.

London: Routledge;