Ethnic differences in prisoners - 2: Risk factors and psychiatric service use

J Coid, A Petruckevitch, P Bebbington, T Brugha, D Bhugra, R Jenkins, M Farrell, G Lewis, N Singleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background The high rates of psychiatric morbidity in prisoners vary between ethnic groups. Aims To compare early environmental risks, stressful daily living experiences and reported use of psychiatric services in prisoners from different ethnic groups. Method Cross-sectional survey of 3142 prisoners in all penal establishments in England and Wales in 1997. Results Fewer Black and South Asian male prisoners reported childhood traumas and conduct disorder, and fewer Black prisoners experienced stressful prison experiences, than White prisoners. Fewer Black women had received previous psychiatric treatment, and fewer Black men had their psychiatric problems identified in prison. Black prisoners were less likely to have received psychiatric treatment than Whites. Conclusions The lower prevalence of psychiatric morbidity observed in Black prisoners corresponds with reduced exposure to risk factors. Higher rates of imprisonment might be explained by higher rates of conduct disorder, adolescent-onset criminality and disadvantage within the criminal justice system. Declaration of interest None. Funded by the Department of Health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481 - 487
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberDEC.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


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