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Social class and type of schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

B.J. Gallagher III
Department of Sociology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA19085, USA
B.J. Jones
Department of Sociology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA19085, USA
J.A. McFalls Jr.
Department of Sociology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA19085, USA
A.M. Pisa
Private Practice, USA
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Current and past research strongly indicates a high prevalence of schizophrenia in the lower class in the USA and other stratified societies. To date, no study has tested for a connection between type of schizophrenia and socioeconomic status (SES). We tested for an interrelationship between schizophrenic subtype, SES and race.


Positive and negative symptom scales were used to evaluate 436 schizophrenic patients at a state hospital in the USA. All patients were also diagnosed by DSM standards. Social class of origin was assessed by the Occupational Classification Distributions of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Multivariate analysis was conducted with the likelihood ratio chi-square.


We uncovered a distinct propensity for deficit schizophrenia to be elevated among the poor. The finding presents as a pure SES effect since the likelihood of deficit schizophrenia does not vary by race when social class is held constant.


The finding is potentially an important new insight into the epidemiology of schizophrenia. It offers a better understanding for poor outcome among lower class patients in stratified societies such as the United States. It is also consistent with longitudinal research by European investigators.

Original articles
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2006

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