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What is an Afro-Caribbean? Implications for psychiatric research

  • G. Hutchinson (a1) and K. McKenzie (a2)
Extract

The term Afro-Caribbean is used to describe black people of Caribbean origin in Britain. Migrants from the Caribbean, their children and their children's children are all covered by this term. The group as a whole is reported to have a higher incidence rate of schizophrenia than white groups, (King et al 1994), and British-born children of Caribbean parents have an even higher rate (Harrison et al, 1988). These reports have led to the hypothesis that Afro-Caribbeans may have a special vulnerability to schizophrenia. While limitations to these studies have been identified, (Wessly et al 1991) none has sought to question the use of the term Afro-Caribbean as a valid and reliable ethnic grouping. If we are to be able to produce good hypotheses for the aetiology of the reported increases in incidence, or to produce research which is useful to Black and ethnic minority groups, we need a clear understanding of the people under study.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Brixton Community Care Project, 103 Denmark Hill, Maudsley Hospital, London SE5 8AZ
References
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Beaubrun, M. H. (1992) Caribbean psychiatry. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, History of Psychiatry, iii. 371383.
Bhopal, R. S., Phillimore, P. & Kohli, H. S. (1991) Inappropriate use of the term Asian. An obstacle to ethnicity and health research. Journal of Public Health Medicine, 13, 244246.
Francis, E., David, J., Johnson, N., et al (1989) Black people and psychiatry in the UK. Psychiatric Bulletin, 13, 482485.
Harrison, G., Owens, D. & Holton, A. (1988) A prospective study of severe mental disorder in Afro-Caribbean patients. Psychological Medicine, 18, 643657.
Jones, (1981) How different are the human races? Nature, 293, 188190.
King, M., Coker, E., Leavey, G., et al (1994) Incidence of psychotic illness in London: comparison of ethnic groups. British Medical Journal 309, 115119.
Lewis, G., Croft-Jeffreys, C. & David, A. (1990) Are British psychiatrists racists? British Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 410415.
McKenzie, K. J. & Crowcroft, N. (1994) Race, culture and ethnicity. British Medical Journal 309, 286287.
Senior, P. A. & Bhopal, R. (1994) Ethnicity as a variable in epidemiological research. British Medical Journal 300.
Sheldon, T. A. & Parker, H. (1992) Race and ethnicity in health research. Journal of Public Health Medicine, 14, 104110.
Wessley, S., Castle, D., Der, G., et al (1991) Schizophrenia and Afro-Caribbeans. A case control study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 795801.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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What is an Afro-Caribbean? Implications for psychiatric research

  • G. Hutchinson (a1) and K. McKenzie (a2)
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