Risk Factors for Schizophrenia

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem. You can have schizophrenia with or without any of the risks listed below. The more you have, the greater chances your chances of getting it.

Schizophrenia tends to run in families. This is mainly true if a close relative has it such as a twin or parent. It may also be linked to certain problems in the genes.

Other factors that make the risk higher:

  • Drug use—Includes illegal drugs and marijuana during teen and young adult years.
  • Have a father who was older than 55 years old before you were born.
  • Were born or live in an urban area. Also, it is more common in refugees and people who move from place to place (often under stress).
  • Have a mother who had problems during pregnancy or birth—Lack of oxygen, bleeding, infection, lack of nutrition, or long labor may play a role. Babies born early or at a low birth weight may also have a higher risk.
  • Loss of a parent early in life. This can happen with a death or by separation.


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Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115234/Schizophrenia. Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 14, 2019.
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Updated February 2016. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 8/14/2019

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