Background

Few papers have specifically addressed issues of health among aging individuals with schizophrenia, with a recent review by Cohen et al. (2000) finding only 1% of the literature on schizophrenia devoted to issues of aging. Research in this area has been limited by the fact that the majority of schizophrenia studies cover a wide age range, with the predominant focus on younger patients. Comparisons between studies are also hampered by the differences in types of patients (inpatient versus outpatient, Veterans Affairs [VA] hospitals), use of disease prevalence rather than incidence in populations, and diverse geographical locations for the study populations. Despite these limitations, we have tried in this chapter, wherever possible, to make comparisons between older schizophrenic persons and their age peers in the general population or with other psychiatric populations, and to make comparisons between older and younger schizophrenic persons. To expand our data sources, we have also extrapolated from studies of schizophrenic persons in general by using mean values and standard deviations and by incorporating any findings in which there is a breakdown by age.

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