chapter  22
14 Pages

The social determinants of psychosis in migrant and minority ethnic populations


One of the most consistent and controversial findings in the epidemiology of schizophrenia and other psychoses is the high incidence of these disorders in migrant and minority ethnic populations. This has been found for a wide range of groups in a number of countries, e.g., migrant and minority ethnic groups in the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, and the USA (Bresnahan et al., 2007; Fearon & Morgan, 2006). In the UK attention has focused particularly on the Black Caribbean population, and in 1997 the AESOP1 study-an incidence and case-control study of first-episode psychosis led by Robin Murray, Julian Leff, Peter Jones and Glynn Harrison-was established to investigate in detail the apparent high rates of schizophrenia and other psychoses in this and other minority ethnic populations. All authors of this chapter have been involved with this study since, or from shortly after, its inception. Here, we outline some of the key findings to emerge from the AESOP study and attempt to draw out their implications for our understanding of psychosis and for public health. In doing this, it is impossible to avoid mention of the political and ideological context within which this and related research has been conducted and interpreted.