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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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146. Cultural differences in immigrants and their perceptions of psychosis and seeking mental health services

Manifestation of psychotic symptoms is perceived rather uniquely when examined through a Western and Non-Western lens of psychopathology. The attributed etiology of psychotic symptoms can be particularly important when deciding to seek professional help. In this study, we examined the relationship between ethnoracial status, insight into symptoms (SUMD), perceptions of etiology (MAS-A), help-seeking attitudes (ATSPP-SF), self-efficacy for recovery (MARS12), and risk for self-harm (Columbia-SSRS). Participants were adults with schizophrenia (114 immigrants, 37 U.S-born) from New York City and Connecticut. When compared to those from Western Countries (n=49), immigrants from Non-Western countries (n=65) were more likely to report schizophrenia was a punishment (p<0.001), less likely to report responsibility for making changes in their life, had less insight into their symptoms, and were at greater risk for suicide. Also, immigrants had more negative attitudes toward help-seeking when compared to U.S-born individuals. The belief that psychotic experiences are a punishment for an individual’s upbringing and the stigma associated with mental illness may leave individuals feeling limited in their capacity to make changes in their life. As such, they may internalize these negative beliefs leaving them to undervalue psychiatric treatment and perceive suicide as a viable answer.

Aieyat Zalzala
The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital

Jimmy Choi
The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital


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