Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Diversity Missing from Research

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Diversity Missing from Research

Article excerpt

KOLOA, HAWAII -- The reluctance to discuss differences among ethnic and cultural groups is a serious challenge for the practice of psychiatry, according to discussion group members at the annual meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists.

"Pharmaceutical companies are doing a lot of research in other countries, but they have not examined the differences," said Dr. Maria A. Oquendo, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, New York, who led the discussion.

"They pool the data, with the expectation that the sites are not different. Thus, data about differences in treatment response in different cultural groups do exist, at least for pharmacology. The data just haven't been analyzed," she said.

Dr. Carl C. Bell, one of the participants, pointed out that there's no research explaining why black women have suicide rates of about 2 out of 100,000. "Nobody has bothered to try to figure out why black women, who in my world catch hell, have the lowest rates of suicide," he said. "What are they doing right?"

Another example is the absence of postpartum depression in Fiji. Many people attribute that absence to the tradition in that country of many people stepping forward and offering to help women after they give birth, said Dr. Bell, who is director of public and community psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Meanwhile, acculturation can take a toll on different ethnic groups, group participants said. For example, one study finding shows that the more acculturated Latina girls become, the higher their suicide rate, Dr. Bell said.

This also has been found in Asian girls, Dr. …

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