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Potential for misdiagnosis amongTurkish migrants with psychotic disorders:a clinical controlled study in Germany

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Objective: The elevated rate of schizophrenia among migrants has been explained in part by possible misdiagnosis. In this study an attempt is made to quantify the extent of potential misdiagnosis among migrants in comparison to non‐migrants. Method: One hundred patients of Turkish origin (Tr‐Pat) and a control group of 50 patients of German origin (G‐Pat), all with a paranoid‐hallucinatory syndrome upon admission, were examined by an interviewer of Turkish origin (Tr‐Int), an interviewer of German origin (G‐Int) and the clinican. The diagnostic evaluation was then compared. Results: Nineteen per cent of Tr‐Pat and 4% of G‐Pat showed diagnostic disagreement between the three raters, while in 8% of Tr‐Pat and 0% of G‐Pat the two research diagnoses disagreed. In Tr‐Pat with ‘bad’ German knowledge showed tendentially more (29%) diagnostic disagreement than Tr‐Pat with ‘good’ German knowledge (17%). Conclusion: The rate of potential misdiagnosis is higher among migrants, yet not strongly correlated to poor second language proficiency.

Keywords: migration; misdiagnosis; schizophrenia; second language

Document Type: Original Article


Publication date: 2000-02-01

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