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Occurrence of hallucinatory experiences in a community sample and ethnic variations

  • Louise C. Johns (a1), James Y. Nazroo (a2), Paul Bebbington (a3) and Elizabeth Kuipers (a4)
Abstract
Background

Hallucinations typically are associated with severe psychiatric illness but also are reported by individuals with no psychiatric history.

Aims

To examine the prevalence of hallucinations in White and ethnic minority samples using data from the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities.

Method

Interviews of 5196 ethnic minority and 2867 White respondents were carried out. The respondents were screened for mental health problems and the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire asked about hallucinations. Those who screened positive underwent a validation interview using the Present State Examination.

Results

Four per cent of the White sample endorsed a hallucination question. Hallucinations were 2.5-fold higher in the Caribbean sample and half as common in the South Asian sample. Of those who reported hallucinatory experiences, only 25% met the criteria for psychosis.

Conclusions

The results provide an estimate of the annual prevalence of hallucinations in the general population. The variation across ethnic groups suggests cultural differences in these experiences. Hallucinations are not invariably associated with psychosis.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr L. C. Johns, Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Occurrence of hallucinatory experiences in a community sample and ethnic variations

  • Louise C. Johns (a1), James Y. Nazroo (a2), Paul Bebbington (a3) and Elizabeth Kuipers (a4)
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