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Child maltreatment (CM) and migrant status are independently associated with psychosis. We examined prevalence of CM by migrant status and tested whether migrant status moderated the association between CM and first-episode psychosis (FEP). We further explored whether differences in CM exposure contributed to variations in the incidence rates of FEP by migrant status.
We included FEP patients aged 18–64 years in 14 European sites and recruited controls representative of the local populations. Migrant status was operationalized according to generation (first/further) and region of origin (Western/non-Western countries). The reference population was composed by individuals of host country's ethnicity. CM was assessed with Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Prevalence ratios of CM were estimated using Poisson regression. We examined the moderation effect of migrant status on the odds of FEP by CM fitting adjusted logistic regressions with interaction terms. Finally, we calculated the population attributable fractions (PAFs) for CM by migrant status.
We examined 849 FEP cases and 1142 controls. CM prevalence was higher among migrants, their descendants and migrants of non-Western heritage. Migrant status, classified by generation (likelihood test ratio:χ2 = 11.3, p = 0.004) or by region of origin (likelihood test ratio:χ2 = 11.4, p = 0.003), attenuated the association between CM and FEP. PAFs for CM were higher among all migrant groups compared with the reference populations.
The higher exposure to CM, despite a smaller effect on the odds of FEP, accounted for a greater proportion of incident FEP cases among migrants. Policies aimed at reducing CM should consider the increased vulnerability of specific subpopulations.
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