Spatial variation

What is incidence?

Incidence refers to how many new cases of schizophrenia there are per population in a specified time period. It is different from prevalence, which refers to how many existing cases there are at a particular point in time, or over a lifetime. Incidence is usually reported as the number of new cases per 100,000 people per year, but this can vary. Differences in the incidence of a disorder can provide clues to its possible causes. For example, a population register with information gained from consensus data helps to identify all adults in a defined area who were born within a certain time period (a cohort). Cross linking this information with a mental health register for the cohort can be used to identify people who received treatment for schizophrenia over particular times. This information provides the incidence of schizophrenia for various age groups within that cohort.

What is the evidence for spatial variation in incidence rates?

Moderate quality evidence indicates there is spatial variation in the incidence of schizophrenia. Incidence is higher in urban regions compared with mixed urban/rural areas, and higher in males than females who were born at high latitudes. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests no association between level of per capita gross national product or mean income and incidence rates of schizophrenia.

January 2019

Last updated at: 11:54 pm, 28th March 2019
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