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Schizophrenia Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 916198, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/916198
Review Article

Gender Differences in Schizophrenia and First-Episode Psychosis: A Comprehensive Literature Review

1Research and Developmental Unit of Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM. GTRDSM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, 08330 Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Mental Health, Corporació Parc Sanitari Taulí, GTRDSM, Sabadell, 08830 Barcelona, Spain
3Department of Mental Health, Institut de Psiquiatria Pere Mata, GTRDSM, Reus, Tarragona, Spain
4Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), “We Mend Minds,” Old Baker Building, The Alfred Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia

Received 14 November 2011; Revised 19 January 2012; Accepted 31 January 2012

Academic Editor: David C. Henderson

Copyright © 2012 Susana Ochoa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Recent studies have begun to look at gender differences in schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis in an attempt to explain the heterogeneity of the illness. However, a number of uncertainties remain. This paper tries to summarize the most important findings in gender differences in schizophrenia and first-psychosis episodes. Several studies indicate that the incidence of schizophrenia is higher in men. Most of the studies found the age of onset to be earlier in men than in women. Findings on symptoms are less conclusive, with some authors suggesting that men suffer more negative symptoms while women have more affective symptoms. Premorbid functioning and social functioning seem to be better in females than males. However, cognitive functioning remains an issue, with lack of consensus on differences in neuropsychological profile between women and men. Substance abuse is more common in men than women with schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis. In terms of the disease course, women have better remission and lower relapse rates. Lastly, there is no evidence of specific gender differences in familial risk and obstetric complications. Overall, gender differences have been found in a number of variables, and further study in this area could help provide useful information with a view to improving our care of these patients.