The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

BACKGROUND Incidence rates of schizophrenia among UK African-Caribbeans have been reported as high. Various explanations including selective migration and genetic vulnerability have been proposed.

METHOD In one calendar year, all new cases of psychosis presenting to various psychiatric services in two clearly defined geographical catchment areas in Trinidad-one in the rural south and the other an urban area-were studied. Standardised diagnostic instruments were applied and information collected using WHO screening and measurement instruments.

RESULTS A total of 56 cases were collected, giving an incidence rate of 2.2/1000 of broad schizophrenia with a rate of 1.6 for S+ schizophrenia.

CONCLUSION These rates are similar to those from the WHO study in Honolulu and Aarhus, and much lower than the rates for African-Caribbeans in London. The cases were followed up for one year and the poor outcome rate for schizophrenia was 19%. The findings are discussed in a cross-cultural context and suggestions for future research made.