Urban life is speculated to have a negative impact on mental health than rural life. Besides, urban life has also been linked to a higher genetic risk of schizophrenia. The objective of this study is to evaluate the probability of genetic risk for schizophrenia in people living in more populated areas.
This is a meta-analysis of four large, cross-sectional samples of genotyped individuals. The mean (SD) age of the participants was 54.4 years. The polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia were obtained from genetic data, and the primary outcome of the study was the prevalence of schizophrenia in the urban population.
In the first cohort, a total of 15,544 participants living in more densely populated areas were at a higher risk of genetic loading for schizophrenia. 10 197 (65.6%) of these participants were women, with the mean (SD) age 54.4 years. These results were implicated in all other cohorts, with women being at a higher risk (50-60%).
Estimates from mendelian randomization analysis also indicated a positive association between living in an urban area and the genetic risk of schizophrenia.
The research concluded that individuals with an increased genetic risk of schizophrenia tend to live in densely-populated urban areas.