The British Journal of Psychiatry
First-contact incidence of psychosis in north-eastern Italy: influence of age, gender, immigration and socioeconomic deprivation
Antonio Lasalvia, Chiara Bonetto, Sarah Tosato, Gioia Zanatta, Doriana Cristofalo, Damiano Salazzari, Lorenza Lazzarotto, Mariaelena Bertani, Sarah Bissoli, Katia De Santi, Carla Cremonese, Moreno De Rossi, Francesco Gardellin, Luana Ramon, Maria Zucchetto, Francesco Amaddeo, Michele Tansella, Mirella Ruggeri, the PICOS-Veneto Group
  • Declaration of interest




Considerable variations in the incidence of psychosis have been observed across countries, in terms of age, gender, immigration status, urbanicity and socioeconomic deprivation.


To evaluate the incidence rate of first-episode psychosis in a large area of north-eastern Italy and the distribution of the above-mentioned risk factors in individuals with psychoses.


Epidemiologically based survey. Over a 3-year period individuals with psychosis on first contact with services were identified and diagnosed according to ICD-10 criteria.


In total, 558 individuals with first-episode psychosis were identified during 3 077 555 person-years at risk. The annual incidence rate per 100 000 was 18.1 for all psychoses, 14.3 for non-affective psychoses and 3.8 for affective psychoses. The rate for all psychoses was higher in young people aged 20-29 (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 4.18, 95% CI 2.77-6.30), immigrants (IRR = 2.26, 95% CI 1.85-2.75) and those living in the most deprived areas (IRR = 2.09, 95% CI 1.54-2.85).


The incidence rate in our study area was lower than that found in other European and North American studies and provides new insights into the factors that may increase and/or decrease risk for developing psychosis.


  • Funding

    This study was supported by the Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata 2004, Giunta Regionale del Veneto with a grant to M.R.; by the Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata 2005, Giunta Regionale del Veneto with a grant to A.L.; and by the Fondazione Cariverona with a 3-year grant (Promoting research to improve quality of care. The Verona WHO Centre for mental health research) to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health and Service Organization at the University of Verona (M.T.).

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