Transatlantic variation in the attributed etiology of psychosis

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;61(6):577-82. doi: 10.1177/0020764014565798. Epub 2014 Dec 30.


Background: Differences in transatlantic perception of psychosis have been reported in the historical psychiatric literature.

Aims: This study aims to determine if articles in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) are more likely to attribute biological factors to the etiology of psychosis than those of the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP).

Methods: A systematic MEDLINE search for articles in the AJP and BJP from 2005 to 2007 identified 360 abstracts with psychosis and etiology-related words. Chi-square analyses were used to test differences in the proportion of attributed biological or psychosocial etiology of psychosis in each journal.

Results: A greater proportion of abstracts (83/87) in the AJP attributed biological etiology of psychosis (χ(2) = 12.33, df = 1, p < 0.001), while a greater proportion in the BJP (16/44 abstracts) attributed psychosocial etiology (χ(2) = 19.76, df = 1, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The AJP tends to publish biomedical explanations of psychosis, while the BJP shows a relative preference for psychosocial theories.

Keywords: Psychosis; culture; etiology; psychiatry.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / ethnology
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States