London Minority Groups Face Higher Psychosis Risk

All minority groups studied had higher incidence of first-episode psychosis than white Brits

TUESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Minority groups were found to have higher risk of psychosis than white British individuals, according to research published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Jeremy W. Coid, M.D., of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, U.K., and colleagues analyzed data from 484 patients with first-episode psychosis in several economically deprived areas of East London. Of these patients, 362 were diagnosed with non-affective psychoses -- including schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder and schizoaffective disorder -- and 122 met the criteria for affective psychosis.

Compared with white British individuals, all of the minority ethnic subgroups studied had a higher incidence of both types of psychosis, the researchers report. Black Caribbeans showed a difference in risk for non-affective psychoses between first and second generations, but no significant differences between these generations were seen in other groups, the investigators found.

"The stress-vulnerability model is a potential mechanism to explain increased rates in migrants. The traditional explanation has been that alienation and suspicion engendered in the migrant by unfamiliar surroundings can lead to psychosis or that immigration itself is a highly stressful life event. It has been proposed that long-term experience of social defeat, defined as a subordinate position or outsider status, leads to sensitization of the mesolimbic dopamine system. This hypothesis is thought to fit with the observation in several European countries that the risks for schizophrenia are highest among immigrant groups that are least successful," the authors write.

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