Political change and course of schizophrenia in East Germany, 1984–1994
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Background: We tested the hypothesis that the political change occurring in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 affected patients with long-term schizophrenia, resulting in more and longer hospitalisations. Methods: In two samples in East Germany (120 patients in East Berlin, 70 patients in Chemnitz) and in a control group from West Berlin (40 patients), hospitalisations for each month between November 1984 and October 1994 were assessed. Each sample included all schizophrenia patients who were in continuous treatment in the given community mental health centre throughout the full observation period. Results: Hospitalisation indices were not higher after November 1989 than before in any of the groups. Conclusions: There is no evidence that political change in East Germany negatively affected the course of long-term schizophrenia as assessed by hospitalisations. If consistent medical care is provided, characteristics of the political system may have less impact on the course of schizophrenia than is sometimes assumed.
KeywordsMental Health Schizophrenia Medical Care Health Centre Political System
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