Absence of bias in clinician ratings of everyday functioning among African American, Hispanic and Caucasian patients with schizophrenia

Samir Sabbag, Davide Prestia, Belinda Robertson, Pedro Ruiz, Dante Durand, Martin Strassnig, Philip D. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A substantial research literature implicates potential racial/ethnic bias in the diagnosis of schizophrenia and in clinical ratings of psychosis. There is no similar information regarding bias effects on ratings of everyday functioning. Our aims were to determine if Caucasian raters vary in their ratings of the everyday functioning of schizophrenia patients of different ethnicities, to find out which factors determine accurate self-report of everyday functioning in different ethnic groups, and to know if depression has similar effects on the way people of different ethnicities self-report their current functionality. We analyzed data on 295 patients with schizophrenia who provided their self-report of their everyday functioning and also had a Caucasian clinician rating their functionality. Three racial/ethnic groups (African American (AA), Hispanic and Caucasian) were studied and analyzed on the basis of neurocognition, functional capacity, depression and real-world functional outcomes. No differences based on racial/ethnic status in clinician assessments of patients' functionality were found. Differences between racial groups were found in personal and maternal levels of education. Severity of depression was significantly correlated with accuracy of self-assessment of functioning in Caucasians, but not in AAs. Higher scores on neurocognition and functional capacity scales correlated with reduced overestimation of functioning in AAs, but not in Hispanics. This data might indicate that measurement of everyday functionality is less subject to rater bias than measurement of symptoms of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-352
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 30 2015


  • Clinician bias
  • Ethnicity
  • Functional capacity
  • Latinos
  • Minorities
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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