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Minority status and mental distress: a comparison of group density effects

  • P. Schofield (a1), J. Das-Munshi (a1), L. Bécares (a2), C. Morgan (a1), V. Bhavsar (a1), M. Hotopf (a1) and S. L. Hatch (a1)...

Abstract

Background

It has been observed that mental disorders, such as psychosis, are more common for people in some ethnic groups in areas where their ethnic group is less common. We set out to test whether this ethnic density effect reflects minority status in general, by looking at three situations where individual characteristics differ from what is usual in a locality.

Method

Using data from the South East London Community Health study (n = 1698) we investigated associations between minority status (defined by: ethnicity, household status and occupational social class) and risk of psychotic experiences, common mental disorders and parasuicide. We used a multilevel logistic model to examine cross-level interactions between minority status at individual and neighbourhood levels.

Results

Being Black in an area where this was less common (10%) was associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences [odds ratio (OR) 1.34 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.67], and attempted suicide (OR 1.84 95% CI 1.19–2.85). Living alone where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of psychotic experiences (OR 2.18 95% CI 0.91–5.26), while being in a disadvantaged social class where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of attempted suicide (OR 1.33 95% CI 1.03–1.71). We found no evidence for an association with common mental disorders.

Conclusions

The relationship between minority status and mental distress was most apparent when defined in terms of broad ethnic group but was also observed for individual household status and occupational social class.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (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

*Address for correspondence: Dr P. Schofield, Division of Health & Social Care Research, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, 3rd Floor, Addison House, Guy’s Campus, SE1 1UL, London, UK. (Email: peter.1.schofield@kcl.ac.uk)

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Minority status and mental distress: a comparison of group density effects

  • P. Schofield (a1), J. Das-Munshi (a1), L. Bécares (a2), C. Morgan (a1), V. Bhavsar (a1), M. Hotopf (a1) and S. L. Hatch (a1)...

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