Do you think there is a connection between John Nash's strenuous profession and his illness? Do you think that people with higher intelligence are more susceptible for this illness than other people?
Answered by Irving I. Gottesman, Ph.D.:
It is very difficult to distinguish between events at the beginning of an episode of psychosis being triggers to some predisposition versus the actual worsening of "prodromal" symptoms. Higher intelligence would be expected to be a protective factor, postponing the development of psychoses. However no group is immune to developing a disorder such as schizophrenia, and it can be observed in all walks of life and at all levels of social class. The observed excess of cases in the lower economic rungs of our society are best explained by downward social drift accompanying the onset of prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia; the latter conclusion was reached by examining the social class of rearing rather than the social class at the time of admission to hospital [reviewed in Gottesman (1991) in the bibliography].