History of Urban Mental Illness

  • Edward Shorter
Reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Observers have always considered cities to have higher rates of mental illness than the “purer” countryside. Historical statistics have confirmed higher urban than rural illness rates. Recently, however, this relationship has reversed itself, and rates of psychiatric illness are higher in the countryside than the city. Of interest here are the risk factors and the protective factors that regulate urban rates of mental illness compared to rural. Traditional urban-rural differences might be reversing. Yet the balance of risk and protection may well vary from city to city, and from nation to nation, making the circumstances that control this balance the most intriguing subject of investigation.


History of urban mental illness History of rural mental illness Risk factors in the city Protective factors in the city Urban-rural differences in mental illness Attitudes towards urban mental illness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History of Medicine Program, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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