The British Journal of Psychiatry


BACKGROUND The previous paper reports a high prevalence of schizophrenia (broad definition) in an inner London area. In this paper we test hypotheses for this finding and examine the characteristics of people with schizophrenia who move frequently.

METHOD People with schizophrenia in the Hampstead area were identified by key informant methodology, at two censuses five years apart. This allowed identification of incident cases during these five years and identification of people who had moved into and out of the area.

RESULTS The incidence of DSM-III-R schizophrenia in Hampstead between 1986 and 1991 was at least 0.21 per 1000 of the population aged 15 to 54. There was a significant movement of people with schizophrenia to this inner London area from outer London between 1986 and 1991. People with schizophrenia who were relatively mobile were significantly more likely to be male, to suffer with prominent hallucinations, and to have no contact with a GP.

CONCLUSIONS The high prevalence of broad schizophrenia in this inner London area is, in part, due to geographical drift. A significant excess of the people with schizophrenia who move frequently are men with positive symptoms.