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Race/skin color and mental health disorders in Brazil: a systematic review of the literature

posted on 20.12.2017, 03:11 by Jenny Rose Smolen, Edna Maria de Araújo

Abstract Mental health disorders contribute a significant burden to society. This systematic literature review aims to summarize the current state of the literature on race/skin color and mental health disorders in Brazil. Methods: PubMed and Lilacs were searched using descriptors for mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, Common Mental Disorders, psychiatric morbidity, etc.) and race to find studies conducted in Brazil. Studies of non-population groups, that did not analyze race/skin color, or for which the mental disorder was not the object of study were excluded. After evaluation of quality, 14 articles were selected for inclusion. There was an overall higher prevalence of mental health disorders in non-Whites. Of the six multivariate analyses that found statistically significant results, five indicated a greater prevalence or odds of mental health disorder in non-Whites compared to Whites (measure of association between 1.18-1.85). This review identified the trend in the literature regarding the association between race and mental health disorders. However, important difficulties complicate the comparability of the studies, principally in function of the differences in the mental health disorders studied, the method of categorizing race/skin color, and the screening tools used in the studies analyzed.


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