Dutch study: Schizophrenia risk higher in mixed neighbourhoods
Amsterdam (dpa) – Migrants in the Netherlands who live in neighbourhoods with a mixed Dutch-migrant population run a higher risk of developing schizophrenia than those in migrant-only neighbourhoods, according to a Dutch study published on Monday.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, was conducted among so-called first and second generation migrants in several neighbourhoods of The Hague.
Some of the neighbourhoods had a mixed population, while others were migrants only.
Researcher Wim Veling of Dutch mental health care provider Parnassia Navo Group found that the chances of developing schizophrenia doubled for Surinamese and Turks and multiplied by four for Moroccans if they lived in mixed Dutch-migrant residential areas.
It has been known for a while that immigrants run a higher risk of developing schizophrenia than locals.
However, Veling argues that there is a link between the disease and the frequency with which migrants are confronted with locals.
Discrimination may increase the stress exposure of migrants, according to Veling.
He also found that the difficulties young people encounter in developing their own identity while living in mixed ares might increase the chances of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, and might include symptoms such as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganized speech and thinking.
First symptoms usually occur during young adulthood.