Assessing mortality and morbidity in people with psychotic disorders

An empirical framework for assessing mortality and morbidity in people with psychotic disorders: A 7-year prospective and 10-year retrospective follow-up of 2075 participants in the Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP) using linked registers.

Project details

It is well established that physical morbidity and premature mortality are elevated in schizophrenia. The investigators who collaborated on the 2010 National Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP), have cross-sectional data revealing rates of physical morbidity among SHIP participants well above population rates and exposing a very high cost burden. However there is a critical need for longitudinal data.

This NHMRC project grant builds on a unique opportunity to use an innovative dual-methods strategy. 17 years (2000-2017) of mortality and physical morbidity outcome data from state and national administrative registers have been extracted. These register data are being combined with previously-collected survey data for a large, nationally representative and comprehensively characterised sample of 2075 people aged 18-64 years with psychotic disorders who took part in SHIP.

The aims are to:

  • Estimate rates of 7-year mortality and morbidity in people with a psychotic illness with separate estimates for:
    • mortality due to natural versus unnatural causes
    • potentially avoidable morbidity in order to establish much needed Australian benchmarks for assessing the impact of changes in public health policies.
  • Examine the impact of sets of risk factors on 7-year mortality and morbidity in order to move beyond estimation of rates to understanding the aetiology of adverse physical health outcomes in psychotic disorders and informing clinical practice.
  • Develop and validate predictive risk equations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) for use with people with psychotic disorders in order to address a clinical need for CVD predictive risk equations appropriate for use in this subpopulation.
  • Calculate the economic burden of severe and acute physical morbidity in addition to mental health impacts in order to meet a service planning need for scarce and accurate data on costs of physical morbidity in psychotic disorders.


Prof Vera Morgan


  • Prof John McGrath
  • Prof Cherrie Galletly
  • A/Prof Carol Harvey
  • Prof David Castle
  • Dr Martin Cohen
  • Prof Assen Jablensky
  • Prof Vaughan Carr
  • Dr Amanda Neil
  • Ms Anna Waterreus


  • NHMRC Grant of $751,876 (2016-2020)