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Neighbourhood characteristics and social isolation of people with psychosis: a multi-site cross-sectional study

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  • Domenico Giacco
  • James B Kirkbride
  • Anna O Ermakova
  • Martin Webber
  • Penny Xanthopoulou
  • Stefan Priebe


Publication details

JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
DateAccepted/In press - 31 Oct 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 17 Nov 2021
Early online date17/11/21
Original languageEnglish


PURPOSE: People with psychosis are vulnerable to social isolation, which is associated with worse clinical outcomes. In general populations, people living in areas with higher population density have more social contacts, while those living in more socially deprived and fragmented areas are less satisfied with their relationships. We assessed whether and how neighbourhood factors are associated with social contacts and satisfaction with friendships for people with psychosis.

METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional study including people with psychosis aged 18-65 years in urban and rural sites in England. Population density and social deprivation and fragmentation indexes were described within Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOA). Their associations with participants' social contacts and satisfaction with friendships were tested with negative binomial and ordinal regression models, respectively.

RESULTS: We surveyed 511 participants with psychotic disorders. They had a median of two social contacts in the previous week (interquartile range [IQR] = 1-4), and rated satisfaction with friendships as 5 out of 7 (Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life; IQR = 4-6). Higher population density was associated with fewer social contacts (Z-standardised relative risk [RR] = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.79-0.99, p = 0.03), but not with satisfaction with friendships (RR = 1.08; 95% CI = 0.93-1.26, p = 0.31). No associations were found for social contacts or satisfaction with friendships with social deprivation or fragmentation indexes.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians in urban areas should be aware that their patients with psychosis are more socially isolated when more people live around them, and this could impact their clinical outcomes. These findings may inform housing programmes.

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

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