Social exclusion and psychopathology in an online cohort of Moroccan-Dutch migrants: Results of the MEDINA-study.PLoS One 2017; 12(7):e0179827Plos
Migration is seen as a risk factor for developing psychiatric symptoms and experiencing social exclusion. In the Netherlands, the Moroccan-Dutch population is the second largest migrant group. 70% of all young Moroccan-Dutch people meet each other in the online community www.marokko.nl. Within this community, we investigated the association between experiences of social exclusion and self-reported depressive symptoms and psychotic experiences.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Participants were recruited via the website www.marokko.nl. They completed an online survey, with screening instruments for depressive symptoms (K10) and psychotic experiences (PQ-16), measures of social exclusion (perceived discrimination, social defeat and social support), and questions about demographical information. With regression analysis the association between social exclusion and psychiatric symptoms was investigated.
We included 267 participants; 87% were female. 27% of the sample has received mental healthcare in the past. Over 50% of these people screened positive for depressive symptoms and psychotic experiences. Perceived discrimination and social defeat were significantly associated with psychotic experiences and social defeat was associated with depressive symptoms. Social support and higher education were associated with less depressive symptoms and psychotic experiences.
Our findings suggest that the online environment allows for epidemiological research and early symptom detection. Levels of psychopathology were high in our sample. This suggests that a part of this young ethnic minority population might not get adequate mental healthcare. Since this population can be reached through Internet, the online environment may therefore also offer an appropriate setting for intervention, to increase resilience towards social exclusion.