Race- and gender-related differences in clinical characteristics and quality of life among outpatients with psychotic disorders

Vicki Allene Nejtek, Nanette Allison, Craig Hilburn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background. Historically, the literature suggests that African Americans with mental illness are diagnosed with psychotic disorders at a higher rate and receive higher doses of antipsychotic medications than other racial groups. However, few studies have compared clinical characteristics and quality of life among African-American (AA) and white men and women. Thus, research is needed to examine potential race and gender differences in clinical characteristics, prescribing practices, and quality of life. Methods. This exploratory, hypothesis-generating study examined current and past diagnoses, current pharmacotherapy, failed psychotropic medications, and quality of life among 23 AA and 31 white men and women receiving outpatient treatment for psychosis. Results. Depression and psychotic depression were common complaints in the sample, yet only a third of the patients received antidepressants. We found that AA men received an antidepressant for depression symptoms less often, received higher antipsychotic doses, and rated their overall quality of life as poorer than any other group. White men and AA women had a history of more years of mental illness and had experienced 57% and 69% more psychotropic medication failures, respectively, than AA men or white women. Quality of life scores were significantly related to years of mental illness, number of past diagnoses, and number of failed medications. Conclusions. Our data suggest that clinicians could significantly enhance prognostic outcomes in outpatients with psychotic disorders by routinely re-evaluating depressive symptomatology and prescribing practices and considering adding psychosocial interventions to avert deterioration in quality of life. Further investigation of race and gender differences in quality of life and satisfaction as a function of diagnoses and treatment is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2012


  • African Americans
  • diagnosis
  • gender
  • pharmacotherapy
  • psychotic disorders
  • quality of life
  • race


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