Immigration

Since the classic study of Odegaard in 1932,(49) many studies have reported that migrants are at increased risk of schizophrenia. There have been many competing explanatory hypotheses, including selective migration, migrant stress, and socio-economic deprivation. A notable example has come from a series of studies of African-Caribbeans resident in the United Kingdom, who show a markedly higher rate of schizophrenia than do their white British-born counterparts. (3,5.9 This is in the absence of any increased risk to Caribbeans who remain in the West Indies (see Harrison (51)). Of particular interest is that this increased risk also pertains to British-born offspring of Caribbean migrants, discounting an explanation in terms of migration stress. Furthermore, there is a marked increased risk in the siblings but not the parents of this second generation;(52) this suggests an environmental effect operating particularly upon this second generation.

Initial studies sought to ascertain any evidence of developmental disadvantage such as poor maternal nutrition, poor obstetric care, and possible maternal susceptibility to novel viruses. However, these studies have shown that, if anything, African-Caribbean schizophrenic patients in England show less evidence of neurodevelopmental insult than their white counterpart patients. Other research focuses on the possibility that a paranoid reaction to social disadvantage and discrimination may be one factor. Further information about these studies and similar ones from The Netherlands is given in Ch§pt§L4.3.4..

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