Objectives: To compare the rates of schizophrenia among 1st and 2nd generation immigrants from two distinct backgrounds and across sequential periods of immigration. Methods: A 30-years retrospective cohort study (187,184 individuals) of 1st and 2nd generation East-African immigrants (EAIs) and former Soviet-Union immigrants (FSUIs) who migrated to Israel between 1980 and 2012. EAIs were further divided according to waves of immigration. Period prevalence was calculated between the years 2002–2012. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between immigration-related factors and prevalence of schizophrenia (Native-Born Israelis serving as reference group). Results: The prevalence of schizophrenia in 1st generation EAIs and FSUIs was 1.8% and 1.2%, respectively, compared to 1.0% among NBIs (p<0.001). The prevalence of schizophrenia among 2nd generation EAIs and FSUIs was 1.3% and 0.8%, respectively, compared to 0.6% among NBIs (p<0.001). Adjusted odds ratios for developing schizophrenia compared to NBIs were 1.6 (95%CI:1.4–1.8) and 2.1 (95%CI:1.6–2.7), among 1st and 2nd generation EAIs and 1.1 (95%CI:0.9–1.2) and 1.3 (95%CI:1.0–1.8) among 1st and 2nd generation FSUIs respectively. Among EAIs, we observed the highest rate of schizophrenia in the pioneer wave of immigrants with gradual decline across subsequent waves: 2.4%, 1.9% and 1.0% for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves of immigration, respectively (p<0.001). Conclusions: The increased risk for developing schizophrenia among 2nd generation immigrants and among pioneer groups of immigrants emphasizes the importance of persistent investment in acculturation. Further studies elucidating the impact of country of origin and ethnic density on the risk for developing schizophrenia are warranted.
- Second generation
- Waves of immigration