• Psychosis;
  • social isolation;
  • ethnic groups

Objective:  We sought to investigate the prevalence and social correlates of psychotic-like experiences in a general population sample of Black and White British subjects.

Method:  Data were collected from randomly selected community control subjects, recruited as part of the ÆSOP study, a three-centre population based study of first-episode psychosis.

Results:  The proportion of subjects reporting one or more psychotic-like experience was 19% (n = 72/372). These were more common in Black Caribbean (OR 2.08) and Black African subjects (OR 4.59), compared with White British. In addition, a number of indicators of childhood and adult disadvantage were associated with psychotic-like experiences. When these variables were simultaneously entered into a regression model, Black African ethnicity, concentrated adult disadvantage, and separation from parents retained a significant effect.

Conclusion:  The higher prevalence of psychotic-like experiences in the Black Caribbean, but not Black African, group was explained by high levels of social disadvantage over the life course.