Editorials

Ethnicity, social inequality, and mental illness

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7147.1763 (Published 13 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1763

In a community setting the picture is complex

  1. Keith Lloyd, Senior lecturer in mental health
  1. University of Exeter, Department of Mental Health, Wonford House Hospital, Exeter EX2 5AF

    The relative prevalence and treatment of mental illness among different ethnic groups in Britain is probably one of the most controversial issues in the field of health variations. The Policy Studies Institute, in a study commissioned by the Department of Health, has tackled these complexities and openly addressed the difficulties in the cross cultural assessment of mental illness.1

    The study is based on a national community survey of 5196 people of Caribbean or Asian origin and 2867 white Britons. Ethnicity was assigned on the basis of country of family origin, though the limitations of this approach are acknowledged.2 In a two stage interviewing process, initial assessment of mental health relied on structured questionnaires: a cut down clinical interview schedule3 for neurotic disorders and the psychosis screening questionnaire4 for psychotic disorders. Second stage interviewing was conducted by ethnically and linguistically matched interviewers using the appropriate translation of version 9 of the …

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