Introduction Migration is a risk factor for the onset of psychopathology. A range of social factors may play a role in the aetiology of psychiatric disorders in migrants. A better understanding of these associations is needed to develop preventive interventions to reduce the disease burden in the migrant population. Research among minority groups is generally time consuming and it is difficult to recruit participants. Internet can offer interesting new possibilities to conduct research among ethnic minorities. This article describes the design of an epidemiological study in the Moroccan-Dutch population, which will be entirely performed online. We investigate the association between social factors and psychopathology.
Methods and analysis The website Marokko.nl is visited by 70% of the young Moroccan-Dutch population in the Netherlands. This website therefore provides a unique possibility for research within this population. We will conduct a survey with online questionnaires via this website. The online survey consists of several validated short self-report questionnaires, measuring depressive and anxiety symptoms (The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10)), psychotic symptoms (The Prodromal Questionnaire-16 (PQ-16)) and instruments measuring discrimination, social support and social defeat. Furthermore, demographic characteristics are collected. We will use univariate and multivariate methods for analysing the data.
Ethics and dissemination The local medical ethical committee has assessed the study protocol and judged that the study could be conducted without their approval. Knowledge dissemination will take place through peer-reviewed publication in scientific journals as well as publication for participants on the project website.
Discussion In this study we further explore the association between psychopathology and social factors within an online Moroccan-Dutch sample. The recruitment of participants via the website Marokko.nl creates a big advantage in collecting a large sample of a specific migrant population. Strengths and limitations of the methodology are discussed. Furthermore, we review the advantages and challenges of online epidemiological research methods.
- Social Environment
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