Economic inequality is related to cross-national prevalence of psychotic symptoms.


Journal Article

A burgeoning literature documents robust links of income inequality with the prevalence of psychological disorders. The aim of this paper is to extend this literature by examining the effects of cross-national income inequality on prevalence of psychotic symptoms.Analyses used archival data of representative samples from 50 countries (N = 249,217). Four types of psychotic symptoms were assessed using the well-validated CIDI interview. We examined the effects of Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) measures of the concentration of income in the top percentile of people and the Gini coefficient of income inequality.Income inequality was significantly correlated with the national prevalence of hallucinations, delusions of thought control, and delusional mood, and effects withstood control over national indices of per capita income and regime type. Findings were also robust to nonparametric bootstrapping.Although the cross-sectional design limits ability to claim causality, income inequality appears important for understanding psychotic symptoms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Johnson, SL; Wibbels, E; Wilkinson, R

Published Date

  • December 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1799 - 1807

PubMed ID

  • 26370212

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26370212

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1433-9285

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0933-7954

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00127-015-1112-4


  • eng