The reason that ethnic minorities with psychosis in Norway experience higher levels of severe hallucinations seems to be related to the fact that they also have typically experienced more severe trauma and abuse in their childhoods, according to research in Psychological Medicine.
The Oslo team examined 454 patients with a diagnosis of non-affective or affective psychotic disorder.
“Patients from ethnic minority groups (n = 69) reported significantly more childhood trauma, specifically physical abuse/neglect, and sexual abuse. They had significantly more current hallucinatory behaviour and lifetime symptoms of hearing two or more voices conversing. Regression analyses revealed that the presence of childhood trauma mediated the association between ethnic minorities and hallucinations.”
“More childhood trauma in ethnic minorities with psychosis may partially explain findings of more positive symptoms, especially hallucinations, in this group,” they concluded. “The association between childhood trauma and these first-rank symptoms may in part explain this group’s higher risk of being diagnosed with a schizophrenia-spectrum diagnosis. The findings show the importance of childhood trauma in symptom development in psychosis.”
Berg, A. O., M. Aas, S. Larsson, M. Nerhus, E. Hauff, O. A. Andreassen, and I. Melle. “Childhood Trauma Mediates the Association between Ethnic Minority Status and More Severe Hallucinations in Psychotic Disorder.” Psychological Medicine 45, no. 01 (January 2015): 133–42. doi:10.1017/S0033291714001135. (Abstract)