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Ethn Health. 2005 Aug;10(3):243-56.

Incidence of mental disorders in second-generation immigrants in sweden: a four-year cohort study.

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  • 1Centre of Family, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.



Few studies have investigated mental health among second-generation immigrants who have reached adulthood. The aim of this study was to examine whether second-generation adult immigrants have a higher risk of being hospitalised for mental disorders than the Swedish majority population after adjustment for socio-economic status.


In total 1.9 million Swedish-born women and men aged 16-34 were followed from 1 January 1995 to 31 December 1998 for first hospital admissions for mental disorders, categorised in four main diagnosis groups. Second-generation immigrants comprised four groups and the Swedish majority population was used as reference group. Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyse the data.


Second-generation immigrants with one parent born in Sweden and second-generation Finns had higher risks of being hospitalised for psychotic disorders, affective disorders, neurotic disorders, and personality disorders than the Swedish majority population. For second-generation Finns the age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio for psychotic disorders was 2.42 (CI = 2.09-2.80). No significant hazard ratios were found for second-generation labour immigrants. For second-generation refugees the risk of being hospitalised was higher than for the Swedish majority population but only for psychotic disorders. All results remained significant and decreased only slightly after adjustment for income and education.


Many groups of second-generation immigrants have a higher risk of being hospitalised for mental disorder than the majority population. With increasing global migration it is crucial for all industrialised countries to take measures to improve mental health among second-generation immigrants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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