Risk of psychiatric treatment for mood disorders and psychotic disorders among migrants and Dutch nationals in Utrecht, The Netherlands

J. P. Selten*, W. Laan, R. Kupka, H. M. Smeets, J. van Os

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While there are consistent reports of a high psychosis rate among certain groups of migrants in Europe, there is little information on their risk for mood disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the risk of receiving psychiatric treatment for mood disorders or psychotic disorders, comparing migrants and Dutch nationals in an ethnically mixed catchment area. A second aim was to calculate the 1-year prevalence rates of psychotic disorders in first-generation migrants. A psychiatric registry provided information on treatments at all in- and outpatient facilities. Statistics Netherlands provided annual population figures. The risk of receiving treatment for unipolar depressive disorder was increased for the Turkish-Dutch (first and second generation combined; age- and sex-adjusted relative risk 4.9; 95% CI: 4.4-5.5), Moroccan-Dutch (RR = 3.6; 3.3-4.0) and Surinamese-Dutch (RR=1.8; 1.5-2.2). The risk of being treated for bipolar disorder was not significantly increased for any group, except for the Turkish-Dutch of the second generation. The risk of treatment for non-affective psychotic disorder was very high for the Turkish-Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch and Surinamese-Dutch of the second generation. There was a large difference in the relative risk of this disorder between the Turkish-Dutch of the first (RR = 1.3; 1.0-1.8) and the second generation (RR = 8.7; 5.5-13.9). The 1-year prevalence rates of treated psychotic disorders were highest for Surinamese-Dutch (2.1%) and Moroccan-Dutch males (1.2%) of the first generation. Migrants from western-European countries were not at increased risk for any of these disorders. The stressful position of non-Western migrants in Dutch society has negative consequences on their mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Epidemiology
  • Migration
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder

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