Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the world's population. Its symptoms - delusions and hallucinations, apathy, social withdrawal and cognitive impairment - can affect relationships, make life difficult and lead to problems holding down or getting a job. Schizophrenia usually develops between the ages of 16 and 30. Early-onset schizophrenia is thought to be more severe as it can disrupt brain development leading to problems with attention, memory and decision making. Stress is known to make schizophrenia worse. People with schizophrenia find it hard to cope with stress and stress can lead to relapses and stop people getting better. However, little research has been done into how stress affects adolescents with schizophrenia. Researchers from the universities of Pittsburgh and Washington studied 40 teenagers with schizophrenia. They found that symptoms were significantly linked to stress over the course of the 54-week study.
Lee, Heeyoung and Schepp, Karen - The relationship between symptoms and stress in adolescents with schizophrenia Issues in Mental Health Nursing December 2009, 30(12), 736-744