Gender Differences in Age at Onset and Course of Schizophrenic Disorders

A Contribution to the Understanding of the Disease?
  • A. Riecher
  • K. Maurer
  • W. Löffler
  • B. Fätkenheuer
  • W. An Der Heiden
  • P. Munk-Jørgensen
  • E. Strömgren
  • H. Häfner


The phenomenon of a gender difference in age at onset of schizophrenia was described by Kraepelin (1909–1915). Since then numerous studies have been conducted which have quite consistently found that age at onset and at first admission is 5–10 years higher in females than in males. We have stressed the importance of this unusual finding and the lack of a valid explanation on several occasions (Häfner 1971, 1987, 1988; Häfner et al. 1989). Therefore we will refer only briefly to some more recent overviews. Angermeyer and Kühn (1988) reported on 53 studies from a total of 19 countries published by the end of 1983. In 50 of these, the investigators found a higher mean age in females than in males at first hospitalisation for schizophrenia. In the majority of studies the difference was 4–5 years. Harris and Jeste (1988) reviewed over 30 European studies on “late-onset schizophrenia” and found a clear predominance of female patients with first onset of the disease at an age of over 40 years.


Manifold Estrogen Dopamine Dementia Schizophrenia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Riecher
    • 1
  • K. Maurer
    • 1
  • W. Löffler
    • 1
  • B. Fätkenheuer
    • 1
  • W. An Der Heiden
    • 1
  • P. Munk-Jørgensen
    • 2
  • E. Strömgren
    • 2
  • H. Häfner
    • 1
  1. 1.Schizophrenia Research UnitCentral Institute of Mental HealthMannheim 1Germany
  2. 2.Institute of Psychiatric Demography, AarhusPsychiatric HospitalRisskovDenmark

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