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Schizophr Res. 2013 May;146(1-3):22-7. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.02.025. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Increasing mortality gap for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia over the last three decades--a Danish nationwide study from 1980 to 2010.

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Unit for Psychiatric Research, Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.



The objective of this study is to describe secular trends in the average age of death in patients with schizophrenia and to compare these with the general population.


This is a longitudinal linkage study from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 2010 using the Danish Psychiatric Research Register and the Danish Cause of Death Register. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and survival analysis.


The average age of death in the schizophrenia population (62.2 years; 95% CI, 61.9-62.5) was lower compared to the general population (73.4 years; 95% CI, 73.4-73.4), P<0.001. In the general population we found, for men, an average increase in the age of death of 0.28 years (95% CI, 0.27-0.28) per calendar year, and for women an increase in age of death of 0.31 years (95% CI, 0.31-0.32) per calendar year (both P<0.001). In contrast, age of death decreased in the schizophrenia population: the change in average age of death for males was 0.04 years (95% CI, -0.09 to 0.00) per calendar year (P<0.05), and the comparable estimate for females was -0.05 years (95% CI, -0.09 to 0.01) per calendar year (P<0.05). A similar pattern existed after acts of self-harm as cause of death were excluded from the analyses. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia had an increased mortality rate compared with the general population (hazard ratio, 2.05; 95% CI, 2.01-2.09).


On average, patients with schizophrenia die younger than the general population, independent of intentional self-harm as cause of death.

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