Background: Individuals of East Indian and African ancestry constitute the largest population subgroups in Trinidad and Tobago. Many differences are observed in their drinking behaviour and are attributed to cultural and social factors. The aim of this paper is to determine if there are differences in personality disorder diagnosis in alcohol abuse/ dependent patients who attend treatment facilities in Trinidad and Tobago.
Methods: The data used in this study is from the Collaborative Group on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) Trinidad and Tobago Sample. A total of 144 alcohol dependent individuals of East Indian and African ancestry were included in the study. Ethnicity was classified as having three grandparents from one of the two ethnic groups. A diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) was determined using DSM-III-R, which not only confirms the presence this disorder and/ or conduct disorder before the age of 15, but also identifies syndromal levels of anti-social behaviour after the age of 15 years. Patients with major medical problems that possibly impacted their drinking and were unrelated to alcohol dependence (e.g. cancer, severe heart or lung disease, diabetes etc.) were excluded. One hundred and thirteen (113) control subjects who were not alcohol dependent were matched by age, sex and ethnicity to one hundred and fourteen (144) alcohol dependent participants.
Result: This study did not identify any significant differences in personality disorder between the two ethnic groups in individuals with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. There was a significant difference in anti-social personality disorder overall, between the alcohol dependent group and the control group. In this treatment sample, the percentage of East Indians with a diagnosis of ASPD was 7% and of Africans was 11%.
Conclusions: There were no significant differences (p=0.383) in ASPD among alcohol dependent treatment subjects of East Indian and African ancestry in Trinidad and Tobago. However, this study was done in an environment with intense negative view about mental illness. This negative view may influence the type of information that participants provide about their drinking behaviour. Similarly, some behaviour may be socially acceptable, therefore accounting for low percentage of ASPD detected in the treatment group.
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