Purpose of review: This article reviews the recent literature about migration, ethnic minority position and the risk of psychotic disorders.
Recent findings: A meta-analysis found that both first and second-generation migrants have on average a two-fold increase in risk for psychotic disorders. In the Netherlands, the risk was most elevated for individuals who migrated in early childhood. Several studies investigated diagnostic ethnic bias and reported greater likelihood of schizophrenia diagnosis in ethnic minority patients at the cost of diagnosis of affective psychotic disorders. Neighbourhood ethnic density was related to prevalence of psychotic experiences in ethnic minority populations in the UK. Perceived discrimination was associated with severity of psychotic and depressive symptoms in ethnic minority patients. Both weak and strong ethnic identification, as well as experiences of social adversity, were related to risk for psychosis. Low neonatal vitamin D was associated with adult risk for psychosis and vitamin D levels in childhood were associated with nonclinical psychotic experiences.
Summary: The risk for psychotic disorders is increased among ethnic minority populations. Experiences of social adversity and having a disadvantaged outsider status may explain the excess risk. More research is needed into potential biological mechanisms, including vitamin D.