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Schizophrenia in ethnic minority groups

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 13 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:916

Selection bias in prevalence data is difficult to rule out

  1. Dirk Jacobs, researcher. (
  1. Institute of Political Sociology and Methodology (IPSoM), Katholieke Universiteit van Brussel, B-1081 Brussels, Belgium
  2. Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    EDITOR—To sociologists, Boydell et al's findings are counterintuitive.1 One would expect economic deprivation (at neighbourhood level) to be a decisive factor for an increased incidence of mental illness. But it is surprising to learn that the lower the proportion of non-white ethnic minorities in a local area the higher the incidence of schizophrenia in those minorities (controlled for economic deprivation).

    As an explanatory hypothesis the authors point to overt discrimination and institutionalised racism as sources of stress, which can be alleviated by people making use of social capital within the ethnic group. This hypothesis surely necessitates further testing and debate. It is a pity that non-white ethnic minority groups had to be considered …

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