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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • sex difference;
  • prevalence;
  • Australia

Changes in the rates of diagnosis of schizophrenia in Tasmania, Australia during the period 1965–1990 were examined using records from the State mental health case register. Analyses were restricted to subjects with diagnoses recorded between the ages of 20 and 29 years in order to reduce possible errors caused by age-standardized methods. There was a significant decrease in the rate of non-paranoid subtypes of schizophrenia in female subjects, accompanied by a, commensurate rise in the rate of bipolar diagnoses in that group. Differential changes in male and female subjects support explanations of phenotypic shifts in presentation of psychosis as well as changes in diagnostic practice.