The link between urban living and nonaffective psychoses, including schizophrenia, may be a reflection of increased social fragmentation and isolation, according to a new longitudinal study that looked at data for more than 200,000 people from Sweden.
“What we found suggests that although most risks for psychoses are conferred by individual characteristics, the reason for variation between urban-rural areas and variation within cities seems to be due to neighborhood levels of social fragmentation,” lead study author Stanley Zammit, PhD, clinical senior lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology at Cardiff University, Wales, and at the University of Bristol, England, told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Zammit said that these study results are important for understanding etiology and “how the context you are brought up in could influence the way you perceive and think about the world, and how this, over time, could translate into paranoid beliefs and psychotic experiences.”
In addition, the investigators note that the findings may have important implications for informing social policy.
The study was published online September 6 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Reported by Deborah Brauser
Medscape Medical News
Submitted by Anna