November 5, 2008

Immigrants Have Higher Risk of Psychosis

First- and second-generation minority immigrants to Britain appear to have a higher risk of psychoses than white British individuals, researchers said.

Dr. Jeremy W. Coid of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London and colleagues studied 484 patients in three inner-city boroughs of East London who first developed psychoses between 1996 and 2000. The patients, ages 18-64, provided information about their self-described ethnicity, place of birth, and the place where their parents were born.

Participants fell into six ethnic subgroups: white British, white other including Irish and European, black Caribbean, black African, Asian including Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi and all other groups including Chinese, other Asian and those of mixed ethnicity.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found a raised incidence of psychoses for all of the black and minority ethnic subgroups compared with white British individuals. The magnitude of the risk of psychosis was significantly greater in the second generation.

Several main factors associated with immigration may also be associated with psychoses, including discrimination, isolation and alienation, the researchers said.