A number of studies point to the influence of culture and ethnicity on the presentation and course of schizophrenia. In general, a relatively powerful influence of environmental factors is identified. This article reviews the literature on schizophrenia among Hispanics in the United States and uses the results of this review as a basis for identifying directions for future study. Research is divided into three major areas: epidemiology, phenomenology, and illness course and outcome. Ethnic comparisons suggest similar prevalence rates of schizophrenia. However, differences in illness phenomenology between certain subgroups of Hispanics are also observed. Moreover, culture can affect various aspects of the illness process, including illness definition, help-seeking behavior, response to treatment, and posttreatment adjustment. Proposed guidelines to direct future research ventures include (1) better delineation of the sociocultural attributes of the group under study, (2) validation of assessment instruments across ethnic groups, (3) use of innovative approaches to assess incidence and prevalence, (4) incorporation of qualitative methodology, (5) use of illness behavior models to provide a conceptual framework to guide investigations, and (6) integration of cross-cultural and biological studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health