Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Vanessa Bester


Premature morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) disproportionately affects individuals with schizophrenia. This research paper systematically reviews articles that examine the theories and causes of increased CVD risk in individuals with schizophrenia. The findings of the review indicate that there are biological, environmental and sociocultural components of the relationship between schizophrenia and cardiovascular disease. Inflammation from the progression of chronic schizophrenia appears to play a part. The side-effect profile of the medications used to treat schizophrenia cause CVD risk factors. The secondary and tertiary symptoms of the disease process result in problems in motivation, cognitive function and self- isolation, all which contribute to CVD risk. Sociocultural factors such as increased poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are also higher in this population, which are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity. In conclusion, further research into contributing factors and funding for services is needed to better understand this issue and reduce the associated public health disparities.