ResearchPublications

Structural racism and inequities in incidence, course of illness, and treatment of psychotic disorders among Black Americans
Abstract

Psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder) are a leading cause of morbidity and premature mortality and an overlooked health inequity in the United States. European data indicate inequities in incidence, severity, and treatment of psychotic disorders, particularly for Black communities, that appear to be primarily attributable to social adversities. The dominant US narrative is that any observed differences are primarily a result of clinician bias and misdiagnosis. We propose that employing the framework of structural racism will prompt European and US research to converge and consider the multifaceted drivers of inequities in psychotic disorders among Black Americans. In particular, we describe how historical and contemporary practices of (1) racialized policing and incarceration, and (2) economic exploitation and disinvestment, which are already linked to other psychiatric disorders, likely contribute to risks and experiences of psychotic disorders among Black Americans. This framework can inform new strategies to (1) document the role of racism in the incidence, severity, and treatment of psychotic disorders; and (2) dismantle how racism operates in the United States, including defunding the police, abolishing carceral systems, and redirecting funds to invest in neighborhoods, housing, and community-based crisis response and mental health care.

Full citation:
Misra S, Etkins OS, Yang LH, Williams DR (2022).
Structural racism and inequities in incidence, course of illness, and treatment of psychotic disorders among Black Americans
American Journal of Public Health, 112 (4), 624-632. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2021.306631. PMCID: PMC8961835.