UK Racism as a Cause of Schizophrenia

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote in 2008 which is sadly still very relevant today. In the paper, I argue that “the interplay between racial minority status stress, racism-induced stress, and racial bias in diagnosis may be significant factors influencing the high Black incidence rate of schizophrenia in the UK.”

Excerpt

Racialized experiences have long been linked with the mental health and illness of Black people (See Fanon, 1952; Grier & Cobbs, 1968; Pierce, 1970). At the same time, integration of non-White minorities into majority White populations (a common feature of multiracial societies) arguably results in an increase in racialized experiences, and exposure to White racism. Of particular interest is the case of the UK, a country where the integration and assimilation of the Black population is particularly intense. This paper considers the role of the UK racial situation in the very high rates of schizophrenia found in the UK African-Caribbean population.

Schizophrenia is the most chronically disabling of all the major mental disorders and typically affects only one percent of any given population. However, there is a six- to eighteen-fold elevated rate of diagnosed schizophrenia in the UK African-Caribbean population compared to Whites (Hickling, 2005). Moreover, the Black incidence rate of schizophrenia is higher in the UK than anywhere else in the world (Cochrane & Sashidharan, 1996).

Prior to this article, research studies demonstrated a willingness to consider how society may play a role in ethnic schizophrenia, however, there was a lack of discussion on how “racialized experiences” could be influencing the elevated rates of diagnosed schizophrenia. Racializing Mental Illness addressed this gap.

The full article is available here.

Originally published at http://clarexanthosphd.wordpress.com on January 22, 2022.

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WRITER. SCHOLAR. RESEARCHER. Interests: Racial Equity, Racial Justice, Colorblind Racism. Co-Editor: Social Determinants of Health among African-American Men.

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Clare Xanthos, PhD

Clare Xanthos, PhD

WRITER. SCHOLAR. RESEARCHER. Interests: Racial Equity, Racial Justice, Colorblind Racism. Co-Editor: Social Determinants of Health among African-American Men.