Social capital and psychosis: a scoping review

  • Martin RotenbergEmail author
  • Kelly K. Anderson
  • Kwame McKenzie



Social capital has been studied as a risk factor for psychotic disorders. The purpose of this scoping review was to scope the literature and synthesize findings on the association between social capital and psychosis.


Three electronic databases were searched to identify relevant studies. Studies were included if they examined the association between social capital and either diagnosed psychotic disorders or symptoms of psychosis.


Of 191 studies reviewed, 12 met the inclusion criteria. Ten studies measured social capital at the ecological level. Seven studies focused on risk of psychotic disorders or symptoms of psychosis, three studies focused on course of psychotic illness, and two studies focused on both risk and course of illness. A variety of social capital measures were used including scales, surveys, and census-based measures. The association between social capital and both the incidence of psychosis and patterns of service use varied based on measures used and study population. There was no association between social capital and recovery or duration of untreated illness.


Prior literature has examined the impact of social capital on the incidence of psychotic disorders, as well as symptoms and course of illness. Based on the scant literature to date, it is difficult to make firm conclusions regarding the role of social capital in psychotic disorders. Heterogeneous measures of social capital make comparisons between studies challenging. Further specificity in measuring and defining dimensions of social capital is required for meaningful study of social capital and its association with psychotic disorders.


Course of illness Incidence Psychosis Schizophrenia-spectrum disorders Scoping review Social capital 



This scoping review was not funded by any agencies or institutions.

Sources of funding for included sources: Binbay et al. 2012 – The Scientific and Technological Council of Turkey, Psychiatric Association of Turkey, European Community’s Seventh Framework Program; Drukker et al. 2006 – Maastricht local authorities; Freeman et al. 2011 – Medical Research Council, Department of Health (UK); Heslin et al. 2018 – National Institute for Health Research, Welcome Trust, Royal Society; Kirkbride et al. 2007 – Medical Research Council, Stanley Medical Research Institute; Kirkbride et al. 2008 – Medical Research Council, Welcome Trust, Stanley Medical Research Institute; Lofors & Sundquist 2007 – National Institutes of Health, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, Swedish Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Stockholm County Council.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 65 kb)
127_2019_1812_MOESM2_ESM.docx (105 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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