Family Economic Context Linked to Adolescents’ Antipsychotic Use


In a study of the Swedish Medical Birth Registry published in the British Medical Journal, researchers identified all 324,510 single children born between 1988 and 1990 and examined mothers’ and children’s characteristics throughout pregnancy, delivery, infancy, childhood and adolescence. They found that, adjusting for other factors, lower income of the mother’s birth country was linked to lower a probability that their children would use antipsychotics at the age of eighteen.

Article → Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” Editor:
The authors suggest that their results indicate “a relative underutilization of psychotropic medication in 18-year-old descendants of immigrants.” Other conclusions are possible: among them that a bias against antipsychotic utilization may in fact turn out well for the children of immigrants. This interpretation is not presented (and possibly not supportable) in the study, however there are some data (Table 1) suggesting that the children of immigrants are relatively healthy.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].