Migrant status is a known risk factor for psychosis, but the underlying causes of this vulnerability are poorly understood. Recently, studies have begun to explore whether migrant status predicts transition to psychosis in individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis. Results, however, have been inconclusive. The present study assessed the impact of migrant status on clinical symptoms and functional outcome in individuals at CHR for psychosis who took part in the NAPLS-3 study.
Participants’ migrant status was classified as native-born, first-generation, or second-generation migrant. Clinical symptoms were assessed using the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS); functional outcome was measured using the Global Functioning Scales:Social and Role (GF:S; GF:R). Assessments were conducted at baseline, 12-months, 18-months, and 24-months follow-up. Generalized linear mixed models for repeated measures were used to examine changes over time and differences between groups.
The overall sample included 710 individuals at CHR for psychosis (54.2% males; Age: M = 18.19; SD = 4.04). A mixed model analysis was conducted, and no significant differences between groups in symptoms or functioning were observed at any time point. Over time, significant improvement in symptoms and functioning was observed within each group. Transition rates did not differ across groups.
We discuss potential factors that might explain the lack of group differences. Overall, migrants are a heterogeneous population. Discerning the impact of migration from that of neighborhood ethnic density, social disadvantage or socio-economic status of different ethnic groups could help better understand vulnerability and resilience to psychosis.