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J R Soc Med. 1996 May; 89(5): 253–256.
PMCID: PMC1295775

Schizophrenia in Afro-Caribbean immigrants.


Hospital admission rates for schizophrenia are higher in Afro-Caribbean immigrants to Britain than in the white British-born population. However, the reported differences in incidence and prevalence could be due to confounding variables: the diagnosis of schizophrenia might not carry the same prognostic implications in the two groups; and the differences in formal admission rates might not persist when demographic and diagnostic differences are allowed for. The case-notes of 50 Afro-Caribbean immigrants and 41 British-born white patients with a hospital diagnosis of schizophrenia were examined retrospectively, the average period covered being 12 years. There were no differences in the number of readmissions, but in the Afro-Caribbean group readmissions were shorter. Involuntary admissions were twice as common in Afro-Caribbeans and this excess was not explained by differences in age, sex, or type of illness. The reported excess of schizophrenia in Afro-Caribbean immigrants to Britain is real, but the illness seems to run a milder course than in the white British-born population.

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