Lack of fit with the neighbourhood social environment as a risk factor for psychosis – a national cohort study

Peter Schofield, Jayati Das-munshi, Roger T. Webb, Henriette Thisted Horsdal, Carsten B. Pedersen, Esben Agerbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies report an ethnic density effect whereby psychosis incidence among ethnic minority groups is higher in low co-ethnic density areas. It is unclear whether an equivalent density effect applies with other types of socioeconomic disadvantages.

We followed a population cohort of 2 million native Danes comprising all those born on 1st January 1965, or later, living in Denmark on their 15th birthday. Socioeconomic disadvantage, based on parents' circumstances at age 15 (low income, manual occupation, single parent and unemployed), was measured alongside neighbourhood prevalence of these indices.

Each indicator was associated with a higher incidence of non-affective psychosis which remained the same, or was slightly reduced, if neighbourhood levels of disadvantage were lower. For example, for individuals from a low-income background there was no difference in incidence for those living in areas where a low-income was least common [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93–1.10 v. those in the quintile where a low income was most common. Typically, differences associated with area-level disadvantage were the same whether or not cohort members had a disadvantaged background; for instance, for those from a manual occupation background, incidence was lower in the quintile where this was least v. most common (IRR 0.83; 95% CI 0.71–0.97), as it was for those from a non-manual background (IRR 0.77; 95% CI 0.67–0.87).

We found little evidence for group density effects in contrast to previous ethnic density studies. Further research is needed with equivalent investigations in other countries to see if similar patterns are observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date18 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Lack of fit with the neighbourhood social environment as a risk factor for psychosis – a national cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this