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Researchers look at relationship between mental health, socioeconomic status and ethnicity (UK)

March 24, 2011

Recent research from England finds that some ethno-racial groups are disproportionately impacted by poverty and common mental health disorders. The article, published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, found that low-income Bangladeshi, Pakistani and African Caribbean individuals experienced a higher burden of common mental health conditions than the White, Irish or Indian individuals studied.

Seeking to understand the relationship between mental health prevalence, socioeconomic status and ethnicity in the UK context, the authors applied the World Bank developed Concentration Index, a standardized tool used for measuring inequalities, to data from the Survey of Ethnic Minority Psychiatric Illness Rates in the Community (EMPIRIC). The sample included 3,565 individuals and was representative for all ethnic groups studied.

The authors report two main findings from the research conducted. First, the degree to which lower income groups experience mental health inequities is different for different ethnic groups, with higher burdens of mental health disorders impacting those living in poverty within the Irish, White and African Caribbean communities. Secondly, the authors found that socioeconomic inequalities between ethnic groups contribute to mental health inequities in a way that doubly disadvantages some groups; these groups experience both higher rates of poverty in general and also disproportionately high rates of mental health conditions for those living in poverty within the group.

See “Income-Related Inequalities in Common Mental Disorders among Ethnic Minorities in England,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (published online February 4, 2011), available

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