, Volume 46, Issue 9, pp 915-923
Date: 04 Jul 2010

Perceived racism, medication adherence, and hospital admission in African-Caribbean patients with psychosis in the United Kingdom



Differences in outcome between African-Caribbean and white British patients with psychosis may be due to perceived racism and a difficulty in trusting services seen as discriminatory.


In 100 participants, racism was measured at baseline using the Perceived Racism Scale; with adherence, using the Drug Attitudes Inventory and Kemp Scale, and hospital admission data determined after 12 months.


We found associations between total perceived racism for the previous year (b = −0.0074, P = 0.013), lifetime racism (b = −0.0068, P = 0.038), and everyday racism for the previous year (b = −0.051, P = 0.0046), with subsequent medication adherence. Shame felt about health system racism was associated with increased adherence (b = 0.20, P = 0.015), and powerlessness about it was associated with fewer subsequent hospital bed days (b = −14.49, P = 0.025). Finally, health system racism was associated with both the number of subsequent hospital bed days (b = 5.54, P = 0.010), and admission length (b = 4.92, P = 0.021). In addition, stratified analyses showed that both baseline adherence and 6-month estimated adherence appeared to mediate these effects.


In this cohort of African-Caribbean patients with psychosis, perceived racism is a determinant of adherence over 12 months. We propose a model whereby perceived racism contributes to an individual rejecting mental health services (manifested by the mediating effect of poor adherence) which leads to a poorer outcome, evidenced by a longer hospital stay. Secondly, powerlessness about perceived health-service racism may represent a sense of resignation about the “system”, leading paradoxically to greater adherence and better outcome.