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BJPsych Open. 2016 Jan 13;2(1):6-9. eCollection 2016 Jan.

Origin and schizophrenia in young refugees and inter-country adoptees from Latin America and East Africa in Sweden: a comparative study.

Author information

1
, MSc, Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
, PhD, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
, PhD, Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
, MD, PhD, Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Migrants' socioeconomic adversity has been linked to schizophrenia.

AIMS:

To investigate whether the more favourable socioeconomic situation of adoptees prevents them from the high risk of schizophrenia found in other migrants.

METHOD:

Register study in a cohort of refugees and inter-country adoptees aged 16-40 years, born in East Africa (n=8389), Latin America (n=11 572) and 1.2 million native Swedes. Cox-regression models estimated hazard ratios (HRs) of schizophrenia in data from psychiatric care.

RESULTS:

Despite diverse income levels, HRs for schizophrenia were similar for refugees and adoptees, with East Africans having the highest HRs: 5.83 (3.30-10.27) and 5.80 (5.03-6.70), followed by Latin Americans: HRs 3.09 (2.49-3.83) and 2.31 (1.79-2.97), compared with native Swedes. Adjustment for income decreased these risks slightly for refugees, but not for adoptees.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study suggests that risk factors associated with origin are more important determinants of schizophrenia than socioeconomic adversity in the country of settlement.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST:

None.

COPYRIGHT AND USAGE:

© 2016 The Royal College of Psychiatrists. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence.

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