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Br J Psychiatry. 1997 Jan;170:31-6.

Nithsdale, Nunhead and Norwood: similarities and differences in prevalence of schizophrenia and utilisation of services in rural and urban areas.

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Department of Clinical Research, Crichson Royal Hospital, Dumfries.



The prevalence of schizophrenia is known to be greater in urban than in rural areas. Less studied are differences between the patients themselves and, more specifically, their use of psychiatric services.


The prevalence of schizophrenia was determined in rural Nithsdale in Scotland and urban Nunhead and Norwood in South London. Information about patients' psychiatric history, use of services during the study year and global assessment of functioning were obtained from case records and staff.


There were no significant differences in prevalence rates between Nithsdale patients, all White (2.78 per 1000 general population), Nunhead (3.46 per 1000) and Norwood (2.24 per 1000) Whites; rates were significantly higher among the non-Whites in Nunhead (7.36 per 1000) and Norwood (5.53 per 1000), who were mainly Black Caribbeans. Nithsdale patients were at a higher level of functioning and made substantially more use of psychiatric services. During the study year, 42% of Nithsdale patients used more than one of three principal community services, namely day, out-patient and community psychiatric nursing care.


The prevalence of schizophrenia is no different in rural Nithsdale and inner-city Nunhead and Norwood, when only White patients are considered. Nithsdale patients were at a higher level of functioning and made more use of available psychiatric services.

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