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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1993 Mar;87(3):208-12.

Ethnicity as a risk factor for mental illness. A population-based study of 338 Latin American refugees and 996 age-, sex- and education-matched Swedish controls.

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1
Health Sciences Centre, University of Lund, Dalby, Sweden.

Abstract

This article shows the influence of ethnicity on mental health compared with material factors and lifestyle, which are well-known risk factors for mental illness. The study was designed as a case-control study, with 338 Latin American refugees aged 16-74 years (response rate = 81.8%) in Lund, and a random sample of 996 age-, sex- and education-matched Swedish controls. The data were analysed unmatched with logistic regression in main effect models. The strongest independent risk mediator for mental illness was ethnicity, with an estimated odds ratio of 4.11 (2.31-6.92). Low material standard was associated with mental illness, with an odds ratio of 2.13 (1.07-4.11). Individuals who did not feel secure in daily life were at risk of mental illness, as were those with poor leisure opportunities. The combination of ethnicity, age over 44, and not feeling secure in daily life increased the odds ratio of mental illness to 26.62. Ethnicity, a low material standard, not feeling secure in daily life and poor leisure opportunities were significant risk factors for mental illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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