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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the trend and predictors of 21-year mortality and suicide patterns in persons with schizophrenia. AIMS: To explore the trend and predictors of 21-year mortality and suicide in persons with schizophrenia in rural China. METHOD: This longitudinal follow-up study included 510 persons with schizophrenia who were identified in a mental health survey of individuals (≥15 years old) in 1994 in six townships of Xinjin County, Chengdu, China, and followed up in three waves until 2015. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox hazard regressions were conducted. RESULTS: Of the 510 participants, 196 died (38.4% mortality) between 1994 and 2015; 13.8% of the deaths (n = 27) were due to suicide. Life expectancy was lower for men than for women (50.6 v. 58.5 years). Males consistently showed higher rates of mortality and suicide than females. Older participants had higher mortality (hazard ratio HR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.05) but lower suicide rates (HR = 0.95, 95% CI 0.93-0.98) than their younger counterparts. Poor family attitudes were associated with all-cause mortality and death due to other causes; no previous hospital admission and a history of suicide attempts independently predicted death by suicide. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest there is a high mortality and suicide rate in persons with schizophrenia in rural China, with different predictive factors for mortality and suicide. It is important to develop culture-specific, demographically tailored and community-based mental healthcare and to strengthen family intervention to improve the long-term outcome of persons with schizophrenia.

Original publication




Journal article


BJPsych Open

Publication Date





China, Suicide, mortality, predictive factors, schizophrenia