We investigated factors influencing physicians' treatment decisions regarding 4 antipsychotic treatment strategies for schizophrenia (conventional oral/conventional depot/atypical oral/atypical depot). We analysed the influence of the patient's compliance with medication, socio-economic status (occupational prestige/educational attainment), as well as the influence of gender, age and practice setting (psychiatric/general hospital/private practice) of the prescribing physician.We examined the influence of these factors by means of case vignettes. 4 vignettes were constructed with varying levels for compliance and socio-economic status. For each vignette, physicians had to choose one treatment strategy from the 4 alternatives. Data were collected using a survey (n=1 342) of physicians in Germany and analysed using a weighted least-squares regression model and a random-effect logit model.Compliance and status had interactive effects on treatment selection. Low compliance was associated with an increase in selections of depot medication. For high-status, noncompliant patients, physicians selected mainly atypical oral and atypical depot antipsychotics. Low-status, noncompliant patients were mostly given conventional and atypical depot antipsychotics. Noncompliant, low-status patients received conventional depot antipsychotics 4 times as often as noncompliant, high-status patients. The physician's age and practice setting were also related to the treatment selection.Therapeutic decisions are influenced by patients' and the physicians' characteristics. There might be barriers for patients with low compliance and low socio-economic status that prevent them from being prescribed newer medications. Not all physicians seem to have the same choices of treatment options available to them.