Background: Consistent observation of raised rates of psychoses among Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups may possibly be explained by their lower socio-economic status.
Aims: To test whether risk for psychoses remained elevated in BME populations compared with the White British, after adjustment for age, gender and current socio-economic status.
Method: Population-based study of first-episode DSM-IV psychotic disorders, in individuals aged 18-64 years, in East London over 2 years.
Results: All BME groups had elevated rates of a psychotic disorder after adjustment for age, gender and socio-economic status. For schizophrenia, risk was elevated for people of Black Caribbean (incidence rate ratios (IRR)=3.1, 95% CI 2.1-4.5) and Black African (IRR=2.6, 95% CI 1.8-3.8) origin, and for Pakistani (IRR=3.1, 95% CI 1.2-8.1) and Bangladeshi (IRR=2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.7) women. Mixed White and Black Caribbean (IRR=7.7, 95% CI 3.2-18.8) and White Other (IRR=2.1, 95% CI 1.2-3.8) groups had elevated rates of affective psychoses (and other non-affective psychoses).
Conclusions: Elevated rates of psychoses in BME groups could not be explained by socio-economic status, even though current socio-economic status may have overestimated the effect of this confounder given potential misclassification as a result of downward social drift in the prodromal phase of psychosis. Our findings extended to all BME groups and psychotic disorders, though heterogeneity remains.