Management in Health, Vol 20, No 1 (2016)

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INCREASE OF PSYCHOTIC CASES AMONG EMIGRANTS’ GROUPS: IS MIGRATION A RISK FACTOR FOR PSYCHOSIS?

Elga SPAHO, Valbona ALIKAJ, Brikena ALLKOJA, Jonila GABRANI, Valmira SKENDI

Abstract


Background: Emigration is a process of social changing through which an individual moves from a certain cultural environment/context to another, aiming to achieve persistent or long-term residency.  This process is inevitably distressing, and the stress could be the cause of any mental disorder.  

Objective: Summary of data from different studies, regarding emigration as a risk factor for development of different psychosis.

Method: Search of scientific articles (written in English language) from MEDLINE, which study the incidence of mental disorders in different emigrant populations, for period 1990 - 2010.

Results: The average relative risk of schizophrenia and of other psychosis occurrence among first generation emigrants was 2.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]=2.3-3.2). Statistical analysis performed among studies of first and second generation of emigrants, and among studies which don’t make difference between generations, results in a relative risk of 2.9 (95% CI=2.5-3.4) of mental illness.

Conclusions: Emigration process, cultural and social adaptation, plays an important role on the individual mental health. A personal or family emigration history represents an important risk factor for developing schizophrenia and other psychosis.   

 

Keywords: emigrants, psychosis, prevalence


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