Ødegaard's selection hypothesis revisited: schizophrenia in Surinamese immigrants to The Netherlands

Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Apr;159(4):669-71. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.4.669.


Objective: The incidence of schizophrenia among Surinamese immigrants to the Netherlands is high. The authors tested Ødegaard's hypothesis that this phenomenon is explained by selective migration.

Method: The authors imagined that migration from Surinam to the Netherlands subsumed the entire population of Surinam and not solely individuals at risk for schizophrenia. They compared the risk of a first admission to a Dutch mental hospital for schizophrenia from 1983 to 1992 for Surinamese-born immigrants to the risk for Dutch-born individuals, using the Surinamese-born population in the Netherlands and the population of Surinam combined as the denominator for the immigrants.

Results: The age- and sex-adjusted relative risk of schizophrenia for the Surinamese-born immigrants was 1.46.

Conclusions: Selective migration cannot solely explain the higher incidence of schizophrenia in Surinamese immigrants to the Netherlands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / ethnology*
  • Suriname / ethnology