Spatial analysis to identify hotspots of prevalence of schizophrenia

Berta Moreno, Carlos R. García-Alonso, Miguel A. Negín Hernández, Francisco Torres-González, Luis Salvador-Carulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The geographical distribution of mental health disorders is useful information for epidemiological research and health services planning. Objective: To determine the existence of geographical hotspots with a high prevalence of schizophrenia in a mental health area in Spain. Method: The study included 774 patients with schizophrenia who were users of the community mental health care service in the area of South Granada. Spatial analysis (Kernel estimation) and Bayesian relative risks were used to locate potential hotspots. Availability and accessibility were both rated in each zone and spatial algebra was applied to identify hotspots in a particular zone. Results: The age-corrected prevalence rate of schizophrenia was 2.86 per 1,000 population in the South Granada area. Bayesian analysis showed a relative risk varying from 0.43 to 2.33. The area analysed had a non-uniform spatial distribution of schizophrenia, with one main hotspot (zone S2). This zone had poor accessibility to and availability of mental health services. Conclusion: A municipality-based variation exists in the prevalence of schizophrenia and related disorders in the study area. Spatial analysis techniques are useful tools to analyse the heterogeneous distribution of a variable and to explain genetic/environmental factors in hotspots related with a lack of easy availability of and accessibility to adequate health care services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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