Are refugees at increased risk of developing mental disorders?

Bottom Line: Whether the experience of being a refugee increases the probability of developing a mental disorder such as schizophrenia was the focus of this study, a systematic review and meta-analysis that combined the results of nine studies involving 540,000 refugees in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Canada. The relative risk of refugees developing nonaffective psychosis (which includes several mental disorders such as schizophrenia) was compared with the risk of natives of the host country and nonrefugee migrants there. Study authors report the refugee experience may be a risk factor in nonaffective psychosis in migrants. Limitations of the research include that with the exception of Canada, the studies included in the analysis were all from Scandinavian countries, which may limit the generalizability of the findings to other countries.

Authors: Lasse Brandt, M.D. and Jonathan Henssler, M.D., Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, and coauthors


Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Jonathan Henssler, M.D., email [email protected] The full study and editorial are linked to this news release.

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