Objective: To explore the frequency and risk factors of homelessness among a previously identified cohort of patients with schizophrenia in rural China.
Method: A 10-year follow-up investigation among a 1994 cohort (n = 510) of patients with schizophrenia was conducted in Xinjin County, Chengdu, China.
Results: Thirty-nine patients (7.8%) experienced homelessness during the follow-up period. The rate of homelessness was 0.9 per 100 person-years during the 10-year follow-up period. Four significant predictors of homelessness remained in the final logistic regression model: living in shabby or unstable house or shelter, positive family history of mental disorders, without income of the patient, and unmarried, divorced, or separated. Risk of homelessness increased substantially with exposure to multiple risk factors.
Conclusion: Substantial numbers of homeless patients with schizophrenia are challenges for mental health care and public health. Appropriate community-based services, especially housing services, should be crucial for prevention of homelessness in patients with schizophrenia.