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Vol. 13, no. 1 1986

Mental disorders and human ecological structure: A case study of schizophrenia and affective psychosis in Nottingham

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Giggs, J.A. with Cooper, J.E. 1986: Mental Disorders and
Human Ecological Structure: A Case Study of Schizophrenia
and Affective Psychosis in Nottingham. Cambria, Vol. 13
(1) pp. 151 to pp. 180. Part III of Davies, W.K.D (ed)
Human Geography from Wales: Proceedings of the E.G.
Bowen Memorial Conference. ISSN 0306-9796.
The incidence, spatial patterning and ecological correlates of
schizophrenia and the affective psychoses are identified for the
Nottingham Psychiatric Case Register Area using the U.K.'s only
computerized linked psychiatric case register and small area population
census file. Subsequent analyses of the social and environmental
precipitants of mental disorders are restricted to the cohort of
schizophrenics. Disaggregation reveals the existence of profound
variations in the incidence and distribution of the disorder among sub-
groups differentiated by family setting and ethnicity. Subsequent
analysis of the residential 'mobility histories' of the schizophrenics
through Nottingham's social and geographical space is also used to
evaluate the utility of the breeder, social isolation and drift hypotheses
in accounting for these features.
J.A. Giggs, Dept. of Geography, Nottingham University,
University Park, Nottingham. NG7 2RD.
J.E. Cooper, Dept. of Psychiatry, University Hospital,
Clifton Boulevard, Nottingham. NG72UH.
Epidemiological psychiatric research reaches back over a century (Cooper and
Morgan 1973). Until the 1950's, however, work in the field was both intermittent and
selective in character. Today it is of much greater concern to academics drawn from many
disciplines (Freeman 1984; Warner 1985). Although a substantial proportion of the
published work in epidemiological psychiatry has an explicitly geographical component
(e.g. Faris and Dunham 1939; Levy and Rowitz 1973) it is regrettable that professional
geographers have not been directly involved until the very recent past (e.g. Giggs 1973,
1983; Smith 1977, 1984). Certainly interest has lagged behind those geographical studies
of physical disease as pioneered by Aberystwyth geographers such as E.G. Bowen (1928)
a life time ago and more recently by G.M. Howe (1963). Given the comparative novelty of
the field as a focus for research, particularly among social scientists, it is scarcely
surprising that many apparently contradictory findings have emerged. In part these
undoubtedly reflect the use of contrasting kinds of mental illness rates as well as differing
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