How might people with schizophrenia respond differently to stress related to natural disasters or pandemics?

Each person reacts to stressful situations differently. There is some research to suggest that those with schizophrenia may have higher avoidance symptoms and report lower ability around coping, self-esteem, and social support than the general population (see References 1, 2). Higher avoidance may be associated with later higher levels of stress. There is also some evidence that those with schizophrenia may not report their physical health symptoms as easily as the general population (see Reference 3), so extra care should be taken to fully understand any other symptoms.



  1. Horan WP, Ventura J, Mintz J, Kopelowicz A, Wirshing D, Christian-Herman J, Foy D, Liberman RP. Stress and coping responses to a natural disaster in people with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research. 2007 May 30;151(1-2):77-86.
  2. SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin: Disasters and People With Serious Mental Illness
  3. Sonoda Y, Ozaki A, Hori A, Higuchi A, Shimada Y, Yamamoto K, Morita T, Sawano T, Leppold C, Tsubokura M. Premature Death of a Schizophrenic Patient due to Evacuation after a Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima. Case reports in psychiatry. 2019;2019.
  • Was this Helpful ?
  • YesNo

Join our #MissionForBetter now

Sign up for our newsletter. We’ll let you know about new resources, education, and more.