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Exploring ethnicity and personality disorder in a UK context: a scoping review of the literature

Gary Lamph (School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Peggy Mulongo (School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Paul Boland (School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Tamar Jeynes (Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK)
Colin King (Department of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)
Rachel-Rose Burrell (Psychotherapy Department, HMP Send, Surrey, UK)
Catherine Harris (University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Sarah Shorrock (University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 9 October 2023

Issue publication date: 9 November 2023




The UK Mental Health Act (MHA) Reform (2021) on race and ethnicity promotes new governmental strategies to tackle inequalities faced by ethnically racialised communities detained under the MHA. However, there is a scarcity in personality disorder and ethnicity research. This study aims to investigate what is available in the UK in relation to prevalence, aetiology and treatment provisions of personality disorder for ethnically diverse patients, and to understand their interconnectedness with mental health and criminal justice service provisions. Three key areas of investigations were reviewed, (1) UK prevalence of personality disorder amongst ethnically diverse individuals; (2) aetiology of personality disorder and ethnicity; (3) treatment provisions for ethnically diverse individuals diagnosed with personality disorder.


A scoping study review involved a comprehensive scanning of literature published between 2003 and 2022. Screening and data extraction tools were co-produced by an ethnically diverse research team, including people with lived experience of mental health and occupational expertise. Collaborative work was complete throughout the review, ensuring the research remained valid and reliable.


Ten papers were included. Results demonstrated an evident gap in the literature. Of these, nine papers discussed their prevalence, three papers informed on treatment provisions and only one made reference to aetiology. This review further supports the notion that personality disorder is under-represented within ethnic minority populations, particularly of African, Caribbean and British heritage, however, the reasons for this are multi-facetted and complex, hence, requiring further investigation. The evidence collected relating to treatment provisions of personality disorder was limited and of low quality to reach a clear conclusion on effective treatments for ethnically diverse patients.


The shortage of findings on prevalence, aetiology and treatment provisions, emphasises the need to prioritise further research in this area. Results provide valuable insights into this limited body of knowledge from a UK perspective.



Special thanks to our funder the University of Central Lancashire (LIFE Institute).

Since acceptance of this article, the following author have updated their affiliations: Gary Lamph is at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Edge Hill University, Lancashire, Ormskirk.


Lamph, G., Mulongo, P., Boland, P., Jeynes, T., King, C., Burrell, R.-R., Harris, C. and Shorrock, S. (2023), "Exploring ethnicity and personality disorder in a UK context: a scoping review of the literature", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 430-449.



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