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The mechanism underlying the association between urban birth/upbringing
and increased schizophrenia risk is unknown. This study explored whether
an urban effect might be present in a low-income country setting, where
the ‘urban’ environment may have radically different components, for
example urban architecture, pollution levels or social cohesion.
To investigate the potential association of urbanicity of place of birth
and symptoms of psychosis, depression and anxiety in Uganda.
Ugandans aged 18–30 years (n = 646) were interviewed
using the Peters et al Delusions Inventory (PDI–21), the
Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL–25) and psychoticism items from the
Symptoms Checklist 90-items version (SCL–90) in Mbarara and Kampala
districts and asked about their birthplace.
Urban birth (but not semi-urban) was associated with more lifetime
psychotic experiences, especially grandiosity, and more symptoms of
psychosis, depression and anxiety during the past week.
The urban risk factor for schizophrenia may be universally present across
different levels of human development, albeit the nature of the mechanism
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