Background: The influence of ethnicity on different aspects of psychiatric hospitalization is far from clear.
The Aim of the Study: The main aim of the study was to compare the Arab and the Jewish inpatients, at the time of admission, for the
demographic factors, severity of psychotic, and affective psychopathology and comorbid drug abuse rate Population, Method, and Tools: Among 250 consecutively admitted patients in the Jerusalem Mental Health Center-Kfar Shaul Hospital, 202 Jews and 42 Arabs (aged 18-65 years) were examined within 48 hours after admission. The psychiatric diagnoses were made according to the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. For the differential measurement of psychopathologic severity, the following rating scales were used: 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), and Young Mania Rating Scale. Urine tests for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and methamphetamine were performed using the Sure Step TM kits (Applied Biotech, Inc, San Diego, CA, USA). The Structured Clinical Interview Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria for drug abuse were applied based on self-report and results of urine analysis.
Results: The comparison of the 2 population showed that among the Arab inpatients, there were more males (81% vs 67.4%; P b .005). No significant difference in psychiatric diagnosis was observed. The overall severity of positive symptoms (PANSS positive) in Arab group was higher, but only slightly so (P = .05). No significant difference was observed for total rates of PANSS negative subscale. The rates of PANSS-general were also similar. The Arab patients were significantly less depressive according to 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (P = .032), and the total score of Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale for the Jewish group was significantly higher (P = .001). No significant difference in general severity of manic symptoms for 2 groups was detected according to Young Mania Rating Scale. The rate of comorbid drug abuse for Jewish inpatients was borderline higher (P = .068). Conclusions: The issue of referral to psychiatric hospitalization could be culturally influenced; it may be the result of disparities in demographic, psychopathologic, and drug abuse comorbid presenting symptoms, which are demonstrated upon admission by patients of different ethnic origins.