Immigrants’ outcome after a first episode psychosis

Abdel-Baki, A.; Ouellet-Plamondon, C. ; Medrano, S.; Nicole, L.; Rousseau, C. (2015)

Early Intervention in Psychiatry

123 | 1-9. doi: 10.1111/eip.123


Immigration is a risk factor for psychosis emergence, and previous studies show that immigrants are less likely to engage in treatment for psychosis. However, the literature on outcome is scant and heterogeneous. This study was designed to compare first‐generation (FGI) and second‐generation immigrants (SGI) to non‐immigrants’ symptomatic and functional outcomes 2 years after a first‐episode psychosis (FEP).


A 2‐year prospective longitudinal study of 223 FEP patients between 18 and 30 years took place in two early intervention services (EIS) in Montreal, Canada.


Forty‐two per cent of the sample were immigrants (FGI (n = 56), SGI (n = 38)). Compared with non‐immigrants, immigrants had similar symptomatic and functioning profiles at baseline, 1 and 2 years, except that fewer SGI had a history of homelessness and more were living with their families. FGI were less likely to have a substance use disorder but more likely to pursue their studies and to present depressive symptoms.


Even if immigrants are known to be at greater risk of developing psychosis, probably secondary to stress related to immigration, their symptomatic and functional outcomes, once engaged in EIS treatment, are similar to or sometimes better than non‐immigrants’ outcomes. Because immigrants tend to be less engaged in their follow‐up, understanding why they disengage from treatment is crucial to develop better therapeutic approaches to better engage them as EIS treatment can improve their outcomes effectively.