Children at Risk

Age

Schizophrenia is rare in children under the age of 12, but affects about 1% of the population in the United States. About one million people are being treated for schizophrenia on an outpatient basis. Of those, 15% will kill themselves.

Gender

In childhood the gender distribution of schizophrenia is marginally weighted toward boys, but by adolescence the female/male ratio is just about even.

Family

If a parent or sibling has schizophrenia, a youngster has a ten times greater chance of having schizophrenia than a person who does not have the disorder in the immediate family. In addition, there is a 50% concordance rate for identical twins compared to a 10% rate for fraternal twins. It is important to understand that a person would not be diagnosed with schizophrenia if the bizarre or unusual behavior was due to a physical illness or drug abuse.