Conceptualizing the Relationship Between Racism as a Psychosocial Stressor and the Disproportionate Rates of Schizophrenia Among Black Americans Using the Diathesis-Stress Model

Davis, Kashonda L.

Schizophrenia is classified as one of the most debilitating mental health disorders due to the chronicity of symptoms and the magnitude of impairments in multiple domains of the individual’s life (Shetty & Bose, 2014). Research has consistently demonstrated that Black Americans, in comparison to other racial groups, have the highest prevalence rates of schizophrenia. With a paucity of empirical evidence ascertaining the etiology of schizophrenia, many scholars assert that elevated levels of stress play a critical role in the development of the disorder. This paper draws upon the diathesis-stress model to elucidate a relationship between significant levels of stress endured by Black Americans due to racism and their elevated rates of schizophrenia. The presented argument calls for further research on the impact of racism on Black Americans’ disproportionately high rates of schizophrenia diagnoses.


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Columbia Social Work Review

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Social Work
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July 28, 2020