Objective: To examine differences between samples of schizophrenia patients recruited from general practice and public mental health services. Method: Demographic, psychosocial, disability and 12-month service utilization data are reported from a multicentered survey of psychotic disorders and an associated study of schizophrenia in general practice. Patients with schizophrenia from three recruitment sources (in-patient, community services, general practice) were compared. Results: General practice patients had fewer symptoms, better functioning, lower service use, but comparable substance abuse, to patients from mental health services. They were generally similar to community mental health patients, with the exception of family support, premorbid work adjustment, negative symptoms and disability. Service contact models are also reported which demonstrate that general practitioners deal with schizophrenia patients across the range of illness severity and acuity. Conclusion: Recruitment source impacts in schizophrenia research need to be more carefully considered during sample selection and better accounted for in the interpretation of results.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Vol. 105, Issue 5, p. 346-355