• coercion;
  • health service;
  • migration;
  • public mental health

Norredam M, Garcia-Lopez A, Keiding N, Krasnik A. Excess use of coercive measures in psychiatry among migrants compared with native Danes.

Objective:  To investigate differences in risk of compulsory admission and other coercive measures in psychiatric emergencies among refugees and immigrants compared with that among native Danes.

Method:  A register-based retrospective cohort design. All refugees (n = 29 174) and immigrants (n = 33 287) who received residence permission in Denmark from 1.1.1993 to 31.12.1999 were included and matched 1 : 4 on age and sex with native Danes. Civil registration numbers were cross-linked to the Danish Psychiatric Central Register and the Registry of Coercive Measures in Psychiatric Treatment.

Results:  Refugees (RR = 1.82; 95%CI: 1.45; 2.29) and immigrants (RR = 1.14; 95%CI: 0.83; 1.56) experienced higher rates of compulsory admissions than did native Danes. This was most striking for refugee men (RR = 2.00; 95%CI: 1.53; 2.61) and immigrant women (RR = 1.73; 95%CI: 1.45; 2.60). Moreover, refugees and immigrants experienced higher frequencies of other coercive measures during hospitalisation compared with native Danes.

Conclusion:  Coercive measures in psychiatry are more likely to be experienced by migrants than by native Danes.