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Psychol Med. 2008 Aug;38(8):1103-11. Epub 2007 Oct 15.

Psychotic-like experiences and other antecedents of schizophrenia in children aged 9-12 years: a comparison of ethnic and migrant groups in the United Kingdom.

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Department of Forensic Mental Health Science, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.



The incidence of schizophrenia and the prevalence of psychotic symptoms in the general adult population are elevated in migrant and ethnic minority groups relative to host populations. These increases are particularly prominent among African-Caribbean migrants to the UK. This study examined the associations of ethnicity and migrant status with a triad of putative antecedents of schizophrenia in a UK community sample of children aged 9-12 years. The antecedent triad comprised: (i) psychotic-like experiences; (ii) a speech and/or motor developmental delay or abnormality; and (iii) a social, emotional or behavioural problem. MethodChildren (n=595) and their primary caregivers, recruited via schools and general practitioners in southeast London, completed questionnaires. Four indices of risk were examined for associations with ethnicity and migrant status: (i) certain experience of at least one psychotic-like experience; (ii) severity of psychotic-like experiences (total psychotic-like experience score); (iii) experience of the antecedent triad; and (iv) severity of antecedent triad experiences (triad score).


African-Caribbean children, as compared to white British children, experienced greater risk on all four indices. There were trends for South Asian and Oriental children to present lowered risk on several indices, relative to white British children. Migration status was unrelated to any risk index. ConclusionPrevalence of the putative antecedents of schizophrenia is greater among children of African-Caribbean origin living in the UK than among white British children. This parallels the increased incidence of schizophrenia and elevated prevalence of psychotic symptoms among adults of African-Caribbean origin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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