Associations between ethnicity and self-reported hallucinations in a population sample of young adults in The Netherlands

Kathleen Vanheusden, Niels Mulder, J van den Ende, JP Selten, Frank van Lenthe, Frank Verhulst, Johan Mackenbach

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Background. Psychotic disorders are more common in people from ethnic minorities. If psychosis exists as a continuous phenotype, ethnic disparities in psychotic disorder will be accompanied by similar ethnic disparities in the rate of psychotic symptoms. This study examined ethnic disparities in self-reported hallucinations in a population sample of young adults. Method. A cross-sectional population survey (n = 2258) was carried out in the south-west Netherlands. Seven ethnic groups were delineated: Dutch natives, Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese/ Antilleans, Indonesians, other non-Western immigrants (mostly from Africa or Asia) and Western immigrants (mostly from Western Europe). Self-reported auditory and visual hallucinations were assessed with the Adult Self-Report (ASR). Indicators of social adversity included social difficulties and a significant drop in financial resources. Results. Compared to Dutch natives, Turkish females [odds ratio (OR) 13.48, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 5.97-30.421, Moroccan males (OR 8.36, 95% CI 3.29-21.22), Surinamese/ Antilleans (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.05-4.58), Indonesians (OR4.15,95% CI 1.69-10.19) and other non-Western immigrants (OR 3.57,95% CI 1.62-7.85) were more likely to report hallucinations, whereas Western immigrants, Turkish males and Moroccan females did not differ from their Dutch counterparts. When adjusting for social adversity, the ORs for self-reported hallucinations among the non-Western immigrant groups showed considerable reductions of 28% to 52%. Conclusions. In a general Population sample, several non-Western immigrant groups reported hallucinations more often than Dutch natives, which is consistent with the higher incidence of psychotic disorders in most of these groups. The associations between ethnicity and hallucinations diminished after adjustment for social adversity, which supports the view that adverse social experiences contribute to the higher rate of psychosis among migrants.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1095-1102
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-02-65-02
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01
  • EMC OR-01-58-01

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