The environment and schizophrenia

Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):203-12. doi: 10.1038/nature09563.


Psychotic syndromes can be understood as disorders of adaptation to social context. Although heritability is often emphasized, onset is associated with environmental factors such as early life adversity, growing up in an urban environment, minority group position and cannabis use, suggesting that exposure may have an impact on the developing 'social' brain during sensitive periods. Therefore heritability, as an index of genetic influence, may be of limited explanatory power unless viewed in the context of interaction with social effects. Longitudinal research is needed to uncover gene-environment interplay that determines how expression of vulnerability in the general population may give rise to more severe psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cities
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Environment*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects
  • Minority Groups
  • Phenotype
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / genetics
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Schizophrenia / etiology*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Translational Research, Biomedical