City Research Online

Temporal trends in psychotic symptoms: Repeated cross-sectional surveys of the population in England 2000–14

Shoham, N., Cooper, C., Lewis, G. , Bebbington, P. & McManus, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-2711-0819 (2021). Temporal trends in psychotic symptoms: Repeated cross-sectional surveys of the population in England 2000–14. Schizophrenia Research, 228, pp. 97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.11.057


Background: The number of antipsychotic prescriptions dispensed annually in England has increased substantially over the past decade. It is not known whether this is due to changes in prescribing practices, or an increase in the prevalence of psychosis. To our knowledge, no previous studies have investigated temporal trends in prevalence of psychotic symptoms in non-clinical populations.

Methods: We used data from the nationally representative Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys 2000, 2007 and 2014 to (1) test whether the prevalence of psychotic symptoms increased between 2000 and 2014; (2) compare prevalence of psychotic symptoms to the prevalence of being prescribed antipsychotic medication; and (3) identify correlates of experiencing psychotic symptoms.

Results: There was a small increase in the prevalence of psychotic symptoms in 2014 compared to 2000 (prevalence in 2000 5.6%, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 5.1% to 6.2%; prevalence in 2014 6.8%, 95% CI 6.1% - 7.6%). This corresponded to an adjusted odds ratio of 1.2 (95% CI 1.02–1.40, p=0.026) for experiencing psychotic symptoms in 2014 compared to 2007. By comparison, antipsychotic medication use doubled over this period (prevalence in 2000 0.6%, 95% CI 0.4%–0.7%; prevalence in 2014 1.2% 95% CI 0.9%–1.5%; aOR 2.22 (1.52–3.25) p<0.001). Correlates of reporting psychotic symptoms included ethnic minority identity, younger age, lower social class, alcohol and cannabis use, and any psychiatric diagnosis.

Conclusions: While the rates of antipsychotic prescription doubled between 2000 and 2014, the odds of having psychotic symptoms rose only slightly. The reasons for this warrant further investigation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of APMS Psychotic Symptoms Temporal trends 6.8.20.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (289kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login