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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2002 Jun;105(6):404-13.

Schizophrenia in homeless persons: a systematic review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, CA 92161, USA.



This article systematically reviews studies of prevalence of schizophrenia in homeless persons.


Medline and PsychInfo were searched using the key words: homeless person, mental illness, psychosis, and schizophrenia. The bibliographies of identified articles were also reviewed.


Study designs varied considerably. The rate of schizophrenia in homeless persons reported in the 33 published reports, representing eight different countries, ranged from 2 to 45%. In the 10 methodologically superior studies, the prevalence range was 4-16% and the weighted average prevalence was 11%. In addition, rates were higher in younger persons, women and the chronically homeless. Slightly less than half of the homeless persons with schizophrenia were not currently receiving treatment.


Schizophrenia is much more prevalent among homeless persons than in the population at large. Future research should focus on better ways of meeting the mental health care needs of homeless people with schizophrenia.

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