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Psychiatry Investig. 2012 Sep;9(3):199-208. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

The effects of sociodemographic factors on psychiatric diagnosis.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry, Presbyterian Medical Center, Jeonju, Republic of Korea. ; Department of Psychiatry, Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, CA, USA.



Several studies have reported that ethnic differences influence psychiatric diagnoses. Some previous studies reported that African Americans and Hispanics are diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders more frequently than Caucasians, and that Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with affective disorders than other ethnic groups. We sought to identify associations between sociodemographic factors and psychiatric diagnosis.


We retrospectively examined the medical records of all psychiatric inpatients (ages over 18 years) treated at Kern county mental hospital (n=2,051) between July 2003 and March 2007 for demographic, clinical information, and discharge diagnoses.


African American and Hispanic males were more frequently diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders than Caucasians, whereas Caucasian females were more frequently diagnosed with affective disorders than females in the other ethnic groups, suggesting that patient ethnicity and gender may influence clinical diagnoses. Demographic variables, that is, a lower education, failure of marriage, homelessness, and low quality insurance, were found to be significantly associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorders after adjusting for clinical variables. And, the presence of a family psychiatric history, failure of marriage, not-homelessness, and quality insurance were found to be associated with a diagnosis of affective disorders.


Our results show that these demographic factors, including ethnicity, have effects on diagnoses in psychiatric inpatients. Furthermore, these variables may help prediction of psychiatric diagnoses.


Affective disorders; Clinical variables; Demographic variables; Ethnicity; Psychiatric diagnoses; Schizophrenia

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