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Ethnic Differences in Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Psychiatry Res; ePub 2018 May 30; Hamilton, et al

US Hispanics, now the single largest minority group in the country, face unique mental health disparities, according to a recent retrospective cohort study that examined ethnic disparities in receiving a schizophrenia or mood disorder diagnosis at psychiatric hospital admission. Researchers evaluated electronic health record data at an academic safety-net psychiatric hospital for adult patients (n=5,571) admitted between 2010 and 2013. Logistic regression with block-wise entry of predisposing, enabling, and need variables was used to examine ethnic disparities in receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis at admission. They found:

  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and African Americans had a greater likelihood of receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis at admission.
  • Additionally, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were more likely to be male, single/unmarried, homeless, high inpatient service utilizers, involuntarily hospitalized, have elevated positive and negative symptoms, and functionally impaired at psychiatric hospital admission.

In order to address elevated positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, functional impairment, social withdrawal, and high inpatient service utilization, psychosocial interventions should be adapted for racial and ethnic minority populations and utilized as an adjuvant to antipsychotic medication.


Hamilton JE, Heads AM, Meyer TD, Desai PV, Okusaga OO, Cho RY. Ethnic differences in the diagnosis of schizophrenia and mood disorders during admission to an academic safety-net psychiatric hospital. [Published online ahead of print May 30, 2018]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.05.043.