BACKGROUND An increased incidence of psychotic disorders has repeatedly been reported among African-Caribbeans in the UK.
AIMS To test whether the increased incidence of psychotic disorders in first- and second-generation African-Caribbeans in the UK could be caused by a relative excess of affective-related psychoses with good prognosis.
METHOD Thirty-three patients of African-Caribbean family origin identified in a population-based study of first-episode psychoses were compared with the remaining cases. Three-year outcomes and patterns of course were compared.
RESULTS There was a trend for better outcomes in African-Caribbean patients for symptoms and social disability, but patterns of course were similar (odds ratio = 0.9 (0.50 to 2.00)) [corrected]. Pattern of course improved after adjustment for confounding by gender, social class, age, diagnosis and duration of untreated illness (odds ratio = 0.59 (0.21 to 1.66)) [corrected]. Diagnostic profiles were similar, with no evidence of greater diagnostic instability in the African-Caribbean group.
CONCLUSION Pattern of course of psychosis did not differ significantly by ethnic family background. An excess of good-prognosis affective psychoses is an unlikely explanation for increased rates of psychosis in African-Caribbeans.