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Br J Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;167(3):362-9.

Child and adolescent psychiatric presentations of second-generation Afro-Caribbeans in Britain.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London.



A clinical sample was used to investigate whether second-generation Afro-Caribbean children differed from other British-born children in their psychiatric presentation or vulnerability to risk factors.


Second-generation Afro-Caribbean patients (n = 292) were compared with a predominantly white group of patients (n = 1311) who lived in the same inner-city area and attended the same child psychiatric clinic between 1973 and 1989. Data on psychiatric presentation and background factors were systematically recorded at the time of the initial clinical assessment.


Afro-Caribbean patients were exposed to more socio-economic disadvantage but less family dysfunction. The ratio of emotional to conduct disorders was lower among Afro-Caribbean than among the comparison patients--an effect that was not evidently due to demographic factors or diagnostic bias. Most risk factors for emotional or conduct disorders had comparable effects on Afro-Caribbean and comparison patients. Psychotic and autistic disorders were disproportionately common among the Afro-Caribbean patients.


Second-generation Afro-Caribbean children differ somewhat from other British-born children in their psychiatric presentation--a difference that has persisted over the 1970s and 1980s and that deserves more investigation than it has received to date.

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