Characteristics of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Patients in a Dual-Diagnosis Psychiatric Ward and Treatment Implications

Sophie D. Walsh, David Blass, Meital Bensimon-Braverman, Lee Topaz Barak, Yael Delayahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Two studies were conducted among patients in a male dual diagnosis (severe mental illness [SMI] with substance use) ward. The research examined the following questions: (1) Do immigrant and non-immigrant dual diagnosis patients exhibit similar or different socio-demographic, clinical and criminological characteristics? (2) What are the implications for treatment of immigrant (and non-immigrant) patients? Study one analyzed computerized hospital records of 413 male patients; Study two examined patient files of a subgroup of 141 (70 immigrant) male patients. Alongside similarities, non-immigrant patients reported higher numbers of repeat and involuntary hospitalizations and more drug use while immigrants showed longer hospitalizations, more suicide attempts, more violent suicide attempts, more violent offenses and more alcohol use. Among non-immigrants significant relationships were found between severity of SMI and crime/violence while among immigrants a significant relationship was found between suicidality and crime/violence. Implications for treatment include need for awareness of suicide risk among immigrant dual-diagnosis patients and an understanding of the differential relationship with crime/violence for the two populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1054
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Dual diagnosis
  • Immigrant
  • SMI
  • Substance use
  • Suicide


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