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Relationship of social and economic factors to mental disorders among population-based samples of Jamaicans and Guyanese
  1. Krim K Lacey1,
  2. Karen Powell Sears2,
  3. Tazhmoye V Crawford3,
  4. Niki Matusko1,
  5. James S Jackson1
  1. 1Program for Research on Black Americans, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Denison University, Sociology and Anthropology, Granville, Ohio, USA
  3. 3Ministry of Health, Kingston, Jamaica
  1. Correspondence to Dr Krim K Lacey; krimlacey{at}


Background There have been growing concerns about increasing mental health problems in the Caribbean region. This study explores rates and factors associated with selected mental health disorders within 2 Caribbean countries: Jamaica and Guyana.

Methods Probability samples of 1218 Jamaicans and 2068 Guyanese participants were used. A modified version of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WHO CIDI) defined by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) was administered in order to assess lifetime mental disorders. Descriptive statistics, χ2 and hierarchical regression analytic procedures were used to examine rates and factors associated with mental disorders.

Results Rates of mental health conditions were different across contexts and were generally higher for Guyanese compared with Jamaicans for alcohol abuse (3.6% vs 2.2%), drug abuse (1.4% vs 1.3%), substance abuse (4.7% vs 2.7%) and mania (0.4% vs 0.1%). The rate of depression, however, was higher among Jamaicans than Guyanese (7.4% vs 4.1%). There were also noticeable differences in rates in both countries, due to social and economic factors, with social factors playing a larger contributory role in the mental health status of individuals across countries.

Conclusions The results of this study suggest the need for more indepth analyses of factors contributing to mental health conditions of peoples within the Caribbean region, including the influence of additional sources of stress, quality of care and help-seeking behaviours of individuals.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors KKL was the lead author. KKL, KPS, TVC and JSJ contributed to the conceptualisation and writing of this manuscript. NM conducted the analyses.

  • Funding The National Survey of American Life was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (U01-MH57716), with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Michigan.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Human participants' protocol for the NSAL was obtained through the University of Michigan's institutional review board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available.

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