Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1121–1129

Ethnic and migrational impact on the clinical manifestation of depression

  • Eberhard A. Deisenhammer
  • Müberra Çoban-Başaran
  • Atıl Mantar
  • Regina Prunnlechner
  • Georg Kemmler
  • Tunç Alkın
  • Hartmann Hinterhuber
Original Paper



Depressive disorders are still underdiagnosed. Ethnic and cultural factors may influence the way depression is presented and therefore contribute to problems in assessing these disorders in different ethnic populations appropriately. In this investigation, the impact of both ethnicity and migration on the manifestation of depression was studied.


Three groups of depressed female patients (n = 136) were included in this investigation on the variation in depressive symptomatology by ethnic groups. Group 1 consisted of Austrian patients living in Austria, group 2 were Turkish patients who had migrated to Austria and group 3 were Turkish patients living in Turkey. Participants were rated using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Bradford Somatic Inventory (BSI) and an additional list of physical symptoms.


Both Turkish groups had significantly higher BSI scores and more somatic symptom severity. Migrated Turkish patients scored significantly higher in the items headache, backache and dry mouth than Turkish patients in Turkey. In addition, there were between-group differences in non-physical symptoms.


Depressive symptomatology varies between ethnic groups. These differences are mainly due to ethnicity as such but migration may play an additional role. It is essential for physicians to be aware of atypical presentation forms of depression in minority groups.


Depression Ethnicity Migration Culture Minority Somatization 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eberhard A. Deisenhammer
    • 1
  • Müberra Çoban-Başaran
    • 1
  • Atıl Mantar
    • 2
  • Regina Prunnlechner
    • 1
  • Georg Kemmler
    • 1
  • Tunç Alkın
    • 2
  • Hartmann Hinterhuber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General PsychiatryMedical University InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryMedical Faculty, Dokuz Eylül UniversityBalçova, İzmirTurkey

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