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Neighborhood ethnic density associated with risk of psychosis among immigrants in the Netherlands
Date:2/4/2008

February 4, 2008 -- In a study on neighborhood ethnic density, collaborating researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The Hague, Netherlands, report that immigrants who live in neighborhoods where their own ethnic group comprise a small proportion of the population are at increased risk for certain psychotic disorders. The findings confirm the potential importance of environment and social experiences that may contribute to these disorders, including schizophrenia, one of the leading causes of long-term disability. The study underscores the necessity for public health clinicians to pay attention to the mental health needs of immigrants, and highlights the importance of cultural sensitivity when treating immigrant and minority patients. The paper is published in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The team conducted diagnostic interviews with individuals living in The Hague, Netherlands who contacted a physician for a suspected psychotic disorder over a seven-year period (1997-1999 and 2000-2005). The results were then analyzed by ethnicity and neighborhood of residence. A high ethnic density neighborhood was defined as one in which 65 percent of the population was immigrant; because immigrant communities in the Netherlands tend to cluster in the same areas, those neighborhoods were also ones in which the proportion of any one immigrants ethnic group was substantial. All other neighborhoods were defined as low ethnic density. Compared with native Dutch, the incidence of psychotic disorders for first and second generation immigrants from Morocco, Surinam, and Turkey living in The Hague was significantly increased in low ethnic density neighborhoods. Immigrant populations in these neighborhoods had psychotic disorders more than two times the rate of immigrants living in high ethnic density neighborhoods. While the findings were consistent for all three ethnic groups, Moroccans had the highest
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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