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Indian J Psychiatry. 2019 May-Jun;61(3):238-243. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_135_19.

Mortality in schizophrenia: A study of verbal autopsy from cohorts of two rural communities of South India.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
Manasa Nursing Home, Shimoga, Karnataka, India.



Schizophrenia is a life-shortening disease. Although the rate of mortality of persons with schizophrenia in India is established to be more compared to that in the general population, there is a little exploration of the causes for the same.


The aim of this study is to explore the causes of death in two rural cohorts of schizophrenia.

Materials and Methods:

In-person interviews of primary caregivers of 53 deceased persons with schizophrenia were conducted using the World Health Organization's verbal autopsy 2014 instrument. Physician-based method was used to determine the causes of death.


Average age of 53 deceased schizophrenia patients was 50.45 ± 13.65 years with almost equal gender ratio. Just more than two-thirds of patients were married, just more than one-third are educated up to primary school and also had no formal education each. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) were the most common causes of death (30, 56.6%) in this sample, followed by communicable disease (7, 13.2%), and then unnatural deaths (suicide - 8, 15%, and road traffic accidents - 3, 5.6%).


It is the first study in India to explore the causes of death in schizophrenia. NCDs being the most common cause of death in schizophrenia suggests to the need of integration of schizophrenia care into general health care.


Cause of death; India; community cohorts; schizophrenia

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