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Background. Hallucinations typically are associated with severe psychiatric illness but also are reported by individuals with no psychiatric history. Aims. To examine the prevalence of hallucinations in White and ethnic minority samples using data from the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities. Method. Interviews of 5196 ethnic minority and 2867 White respondents were carried out. The respondents were screened for mental health problems and the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire asked about hallucinations. Those who screened positive underwent a validation interview using the Present State Examination. Results. Four per cent of the White sample endorsed a hallucination question. Hallucinations were 2.5-fold higher in the Caribbean sample and half as common in the South Asian sample. Of those who reported hallucinatory experiences, only 25% rnetthe criteria for psychosis. Conclusions. The results provide an estimate of the annual prevalence of hallucinations in the general population. The variation across ethnic groups suggests cultural differences in these experiences. Hallucinations are not invariably associated with psychosis. Declaration of interest. None.

Original publication

DOI

10.1192/bjp.180.2.174

Type

Journal article

Journal

British Journal of Psychiatry

Publication Date

23/02/2002

Volume

180

Pages

174 - 178