BACKGROUND It has been suggested that the increased rate of psychotic illness among African-Caribbeans living in Britain is due to an excess of pregnancy and birth complications (PBCs).
METHOD We therefore compared the frequency of PBCs in a group of White psychotic patients (n = 103) and a comparable group of patients of African-Caribbean origin (n = 61); the latter consisted of 30 first-generation (born in the Caribbean) and 31 second-generation (born in Britain) individuals.
RESULTS White psychotic patients were more than twice as likely to have a history of PBCs as their African-Caribbean counterparts (odds ratio = 2.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.88-6.47, P = 0.062). The same trend was observed among patients with a DSM-III diagnosis of schizophrenia (odds ratio = 1.65, 95% CI 0.56-4.97, P = 0.32). The rate of PBCs was similar among the first- and second-generation Caribbean psychotic patients.
CONCLUSIONS The increased rate of psychotic illness that has been reported among the African-Caribbean population in Britain is not due to an increased prevalence of PBCs.