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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 47 (2005) 11, 761 - 769

Short report

Mental health of immigrants: discrepancy between psychiatric disorders and subjective symptoms and disabilities

A.M. Kamperman, I.H. Komproe, J.T.V.M. de Jong

background There is a weak relationship between the mental health of immigrants, which is assumed to be poor, and the use that immigrants make of mental health-care facilities.
aim This article examines whether there is a discrepancy between assessments of immigrants' mental health based on subjective symptoms and based on specific psychiatric disorders as set out in the dsm.
method We investigated a sample of the Surinamese (n=311), Turkish (n=648) and Moroccan (n=102) population of Amsterdam using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and the Medical Outcome Study, short form-36.
results The Surinamese group showed on average the fewest subjective symptoms and disabilities and the highest number of psychiatric disorders. In the case of the Turkish group the position is reversed: this group showed the highest number of subjective symptoms and disorders and the lowest number of psychiatric disorders. The Moroccan group occupied an intermediate position.
conclusion Assessments of the mental health of a group of immigrants are dependent on the type of diagnostic system selected. In assessing the mental health of immigrants one needs to distinguish between the results of differents procedures.






keywords assessment, ethnicity, health, immigrants, psychiatric disorder