Beyond clinical outcomes: Case control study of the role of race in disruptive life events for people with serious mental illness

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General hospital psychiatry


OBJECTIVE: To understand how race and serious mental illness (SMI) interact for disruptive life events defined as financial (bankruptcy and judgement filings), and non-financial (arrests).

METHODS: Patients were adults with schizophrenia (SCZ; N = 16,159) or bipolar I disorder (BPI; N = 30,008) matched 1:1 to patients without SMI (non-SMI) from health systems in Michigan and Southern California during 1/1/2007 through 12/31/2018. The main exposure was self-reported race, and the outcome was disruptive life events aggregated by Transunion. We hypothesized that Black patients with SCZ or BPI would be the most likely to experience a disruptive life event when compared to Black patients without SMI, and all White or Asian patients regardless of mental illness.

RESULTS: Black patients with SCZ had the least likelihood (37% lower) and Asian patients with BPI had the greatest likelihood (2.25 times higher) of experiencing a financial disruptive life event among all patients in the study. There was no interaction of race with either SCZ or BPI for experiencing an arrest. The findings did not support our hypotheses for patients with SCZ and partially supported them for patients with BPI.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical initiatives to assess social determinants of health should consider a focus on Asian patients with BPI.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Humans; Case-Control Studies; Mental Disorders; Bipolar Disorder; Schizophrenia; Self Report

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