Psychiatric Epidemiology

What is psychiatric epidemiology?


Psychiatric epidemiology is the science of counting health-related measures in the community. It asks questions like:

  • How many people have a particular mental disorder?
  • Do mental disorders differ between men and women?
  • When do different mental disorders emerge across the lifespan?
  • What are the risk factors for mental disorders – for example, are there risk factors that we inherit from our parents (e.g. genetic factors) or risk factors that we face during life (e.g. trauma stress, low parental vitamin D)
  • Do people with mental disorder have a normal life span, and if not, why do they have premature mortality?
  • How disabling are mental disorders, and how can we best measure this burden?

There are many different ways to do epidemiology. With our new program we will explore data from (a) Danish health registers (comprehensive national person-level registers that include all people who seek help from the Danish health system, and (b) representative household surveys conducted in many countries around the world (which include both treated and untreated mental health disorders). In addition, we will explore ways to combine data from modern statistical genetics with measures of environmental risk factors.