Different countries have differences in social and cultural context and health system, which may affect the clinical characteristics of psychiatric inpatients. This study was the first to compare cross-cultural differences in the clinical characteristics of psychiatric inpatients in three hospitals from Western China and America.
Overall, 905 and 1318 patients from three hospitals, one in America and two in Western China, respectively, were included. We used a standardised protocol and data collection procedure to record inpatients’ sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.
Significant differences were found between hospitals from the two countries. Positive symptoms were the main reason for admission in the Chinese hospitals, while reported suicide and self-injury symptoms more frequently led to hospital admission in America. Moreover, there were more inpatients with combined substance abuse in the American hospital (97.6% vs. 1.9%, P < 0.001). The length of stay (LOS) in America was generally shorter than in China (10.5 ± 11.9 vs. 20.7 ± 13.4, P < 0.001). The dosage of antipsychotic drugs used in the American hospital was higher than in China (275.1 ± 306.9 mg vs. 238.3 ± 212.5 mg, P = 0.002). Regression analysis showed that male sex, older age, retirees, being admitted because of physical symptoms, and using higher doses of antipsychotic drugs were significantly associated with longer hospitalisation in the American hospital (P < 0.05). Comparatively, patients who were divorced, experiencing suicidal ideation, admitted involuntarily, admitted because of physical, depression, or anxiety symptoms, and using higher doses of antipsychotic drugs had longer hospitalisation in Chinese hospitals (P < 0.05).
Significant variations in clinical characteristics of inpatients were found between hospitals from Western China and America. The LOS in Chinese hospitals was significantly longer, but patients used higher doses of antipsychotic drugs in the American hospital. Admission due to physical symptoms and the use of higher dosage drugs were related to longer LOS in both countries.