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Explanatory models of psychosis amongst British South Asians

Bhikha, Aqeela; Farooq, Saeed; Chaudhry, Nasim; Naeem, Farooq; Husain, Nusrat


Aqeela Bhikha

Nasim Chaudhry

Farooq Naeem

Nusrat Husain


A strong interest in the understanding, exploring, and extracting explanatory models of psychosis has recently arisen. Explanatory models (EMs) offer justifications and propose explanations when coping with and treating illnesses. Therefore, they may be important predictors of clinical outcome. Explanatory models of psychosis have been explored in many non-Western countries. However, very little research has examined EMs of psychosis in the UK. We therefore, aimed to elicit and describe explanatory models of psychosis amongst British South Asians, using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

EMs of psychosis were examined using the Short Explanatory Model Interview (SEMI) in a cross-sectional sample of 45 patients.

Most patients (55.5%) attributed their illness to supernatural causes. Few patients cited a biological (4.4%) cause. Majority of patients held dual EMs of psychosis (77.7%), combining prescribed medication and seeing a traditional healer as a treatment method. Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) was not significantly associated with EMs of psychosis.

The results suggest that patients hold multi-explanatory models in order to make sense of their illness and these stem from deep rooted traditional beliefs. This highlights the importance of educational intervention, culturally adapted psychological interventions and possibly working together with traditional healers in the UK to provide a positive support system. Further work is required in order to fully understand the relationship between EMs of psychosis and DUP.


Bhikha, A., Farooq, S., Chaudhry, N., Naeem, F., & Husain, N. (2015). Explanatory models of psychosis amongst British South Asians. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 16, 48-54.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 26, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2015
Publication Date 2015-08
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2023
Journal Asian Journal of Psychiatry
Print ISSN 1876-2018
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Pages 48-54
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health; General Psychology; General Medicine
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Explanatory models of psychosis amongst British South Asians; Journal Title: Asian Journal of Psychiatry; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.