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Refugee migration and risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychoses: cohort study of 1.3 million people in Sweden.

Hollander, AC; Dal, H; Lewis, G; Magnusson, C; Kirkbride, JB; Dalman, C; (2016) Refugee migration and risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychoses: cohort study of 1.3 million people in Sweden. BMJ , 352 , Article i1030. 10.1136/bmj.i1030. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:  To determine whether refugees are at elevated risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychotic disorders, relative to non-refugee migrants from similar regions of origin and the Swedish-born population. DESIGN:  Cohort study of people living in Sweden, born after 1 January 1984 and followed from their 14th birthday or arrival in Sweden, if later, until diagnosis of a non-affective psychotic disorder, emigration, death, or 31 December 2011. SETTING:  Linked Swedish national register data. PARTICIPANTS:  1 347 790 people, including people born in Sweden to two Swedish-born parents (1 191 004; 88.4%), refugees (24 123; 1.8%), and non-refugee migrants (132 663; 9.8%) from four major refugee generating regions: the Middle East and north Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe and Russia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:  Cox regression analysis was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios for non-affective psychotic disorders by refugee status and region of origin, controlling for age at risk, sex, disposable income, and population density. RESULTS:  3704 cases of non-affective psychotic disorder were identified during 8.9 million person years of follow-up. The crude incidence rate was 38.5 (95% confidence interval 37.2 to 39.9) per 100 000 person years in the Swedish-born population, 80.4 (72.7 to 88.9) per 100 000 person years in non-refugee migrants, and 126.4 (103.1 to 154.8) per 100 000 person years in refugees. Refugees were at increased risk of psychosis compared with both the Swedish-born population (adjusted hazard ratio 2.9, 95% confidence interval 2.3 to 3.6) and non-refugee migrants (1.7, 1.3 to 2.1) after adjustment for confounders. The increased rate in refugees compared with non-refugee migrants was more pronounced in men (likelihood ratio test for interaction χ(2) (df=2) z=13.5; P=0.001) and was present for refugees from all regions except sub-Saharan Africa. Both refugees and non-refugee migrants from sub-Saharan Africa had similarly high rates relative to the Swedish-born population. CONCLUSIONS:  Refugees face an increased risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychotic disorders compared with non-refugee migrants from similar regions of origin and the native-born Swedish population. Clinicians and health service planners in refugee receiving countries should be aware of a raised risk of psychosis in addition to other mental and physical health inequalities experienced by refugees.

Type: Article
Title: Refugee migration and risk of schizophrenia and other non-affective psychoses: cohort study of 1.3 million people in Sweden.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i1030
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1030
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1477003
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