Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 39, Issue 12, pp 939–946 | Cite as

Risk factors and the prevalence of neurosis and psychosis in ethnic groups in Great Britain

  • Traolach Brugha
  • Rachel Jenkins
  • Paul Bebbington
  • Howard Meltzer
  • Glyn Lewis
  • Michael Farrell



Our aim was to examine whether variations in the prevalence of neurosis and psychosis between ethnic minorities throughout Great Britain are explained by social disadvantage.


A total of 10,108 adult householders throughout Great Britain were assessed in a two-stage survey with the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R) and Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ). Respondents with a positive PSQ or who received a diagnosis of, or treatment for, psychosis were examined by a psychiatrist using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN). Data on respondents’ preferred ethnic group were collapsed into four groups: Whites, African-Caribbean or Africans, south Asians and other.


Ethnic grouping was strongly associated with: unemployment; lone parent status; lower social class; low perceived social support; poverty (indicated by lack of car ownership) and having a primary social support group of less than three close others. All these associations applied to the group Africans and Afro-Caribbeans, but only some applied to the other groups. No ethnic group had significantly increased rates of neurosis. Only the African-Caribbean group were at significantly increased risk of a psychotic disorder (odds ratio 4.55; 95% CI: 1.13, 18.30). After adjustment for risk factors, the odds of psychosis were lower (odds ratio 2.97; 95% CI: 0.66, 13.36).


The excess of psychosis in Africans and Afro-Caribbeans in Great Britain appears to be partly explained by socio-economic disadvantage, but larger studies are needed to confirm this.

Key words

risk factors ethnic groups prevalence Great Britain mental health 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Traolach Brugha
    • 1
  • Rachel Jenkins
    • 2
  • Paul Bebbington
    • 3
  • Howard Meltzer
    • 4
  • Glyn Lewis
    • 5
  • Michael Farrell
    • 6
  1. 1.University of Leicester, Section of Social and Epidemiological Psychiatry, Department of Health Sciences, Brandon Mental Health UnitLeicester General HospitalLeicester LE5 4PWUK
  2. 2.WHO Collaborating Centre, Institute of PsychiatryLondon SE5 8AFUK
  3. 3.Royal Free and University College London Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Archway Campus Whittington HospitalLondon N19 5NFUK
  4. 4.Office for National StatisticsLondon SW1V 2QQUK
  5. 5.University of Wales, College of Medicine, Department of Psychological MedicineCardiff CF4 4XNUK
  6. 6.Institute of PsychiatryLondon SE5 8AFUK

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