Risk Factors for Schizophrenia

A risk factor is something that raises your chance of getting a health problem. You can have schizophrenia with or without any of the risks listed below. The more factors you have, the greater chances your chances of getting it.

Schizophrenia tends to run in families. The risk if higher if schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is present in a parent, brother, or sister.

Other factors that make the risk higher:

  • Drug use—Includes illegal drugs and marijuana during teen and young adult years.
  • Father's age is older than 55 years before birth.
  • Stressful family events such as death or loss of family member or being migrant or refugee.
  • Problems at birth or in development before birth. May include bleeding, infection, or poor food resources for mother during pregnancy. Lack of oxygen, infection, early birth, or low birth weight for baby.


Holder SD, Wayhs A. Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):775-782.
Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115234/Schizophrenia. Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 14, 2019.
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Updated February 2016. Accessed August 14, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 8/14/2019

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