Use of psychiatric emergency services by immigrants in an Italian first aid setting

Leonardo Zaninotto, Carla Cremonese, Nadia Campagnola, Giovanni de Girolamo, Diana de Ronchi, Alessandro Serretti, Paolo Santonastaso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe the demand for psychiatric interventions by foreign nationals in an Emergency Room setting and to assess any difference in psychopathological presentation and outcome of the intervention between Italians and immigrants. Method: We reviewed 10082 psychiatric consultations, conducted between January 1st 2003 and December 31st 2008 at the Emergency Department (ED) of Padova General Hospital. Patients with more than one consultation in the index period were excluded. 898 immigrants were compared to a control group of 5304 Italians. Results: Sub-Saharan and Asian patients appeared to have a more than doubled risk of being diagnosed with a non-affective psychotic disorder (respectively, OR=2.11 and OR=2.43). Sub-Saharan patients had also a higher probability of being referred by the ED physician for an improper psychiatric consultation (OR=4.10). Patients from an European or a North African country were associated to a higher probability of being referred to an Italian outpatient service, while compulsory admission was found to be significantly associated to diagnosis but not to nationality. Conclusions: A different use of psychiatric emergency services by some ethnic and minority groups may require the planning for further studies and adequate treatment and prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neuropsychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Health care research
  • Immigrants
  • Psychiatric emergency services
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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