Gender differences in first episode psychosis

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2008 Dec;43(12):940-6. doi: 10.1007/s00127-008-0384-3. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


Background: In the description of 1 episode schizophrenia patients, female gender is associated with better social function and a higher degree of compliance, while males exhibit more negative symptoms and a higher degree of abuse. The question is raised whether gender specific differences exist which should be taken into consideration in order to provide optimal treatment for the patients.

Methods and material: Data from 269 persons (181 men and 88 women), included in the Danish national schizophrenia project (DNS), were registered at inclusion and year 2, and were analyzed according to gender, social functioning, psychopathology, drug consumption and abuse during the course of 2 years treatment.

Results: Women had longer duration of illness before treatment and exhibited more affective symptoms while men were more socially isolated and had more negative symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse appeared significantly more among men. Women were comparatively more heavily medicated than men. Social function, PANSS negative, drug consumption, affective symptomatology and abuse improved significantly after 2 years follow-up.

Conclusion: The gender differences demonstrated in the study suggest gender specific treatment interventions in order to provide optimal treatment for both male and female patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Disorders, Psychotic / complications
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Isolation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents