A. H. Schene

University of Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (217)387.13 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: European research on the association between perceived ethnic discrimination (PED) and health is importantly lacking. It is also unknown how much PED contributes to disease prevalence. In this study, we quantified the contribution of PED to depression in five ethnic groups in a middle-size European city. We used cross-sectional data from the HELIUS study (Healthy Life in an Urban Setting), collected from January 2011 to June 2013 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We included a random sample of 1753 ethnic Dutch, 1143 South-Asian Surinamese, 1794 African Surinamese, 1098 Ghanaians and 850 Turks, aged 18-70 years. PED was assessed using the Everyday Discrimination Scale. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was used for assessing depressive symptoms and major depressive disorder (MDD). We used logistic regression and calculated the contribution of PED to depressive symptoms and MDD using the population attributable fractions. Depressive symptoms and MDD were most common in Turks and South-Asian Surinamese, and lowest in ethnic Dutch. PED had a positive association with depressive symptoms and MDD in only the ethnic minority groups. The contributions of PED to depressive symptoms and MDD were around 25% in both the Surinamese groups, and Turks, and ∼15% in Ghanaians. We conclude that PED contributes considerably to depression in ethnic minority groups in a European context. As such, ethnic inequalities in depression could be reduced substantially if ethnic minority groups would not perceive any ethnic discrimination. We encourage more European research on the health impact of PED. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.
    The European Journal of Public Health 11/2014; · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Childhood trauma is associated with the onset and recurrence of major depressive disorder (MDD). The thermolabile T variant of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) is associated with a limited (oxidative) stress defense. Therefore, C677T MTHFR could be a potential predictor for depressive symptomatology and MDD recurrence in the context of traumatic stress during early life. We investigated the interaction between the C677T MTHFR variant and exposure to traumatic childhood events (TCEs) on MDD recurrence during a 5.5-year follow-up in a discovery sample of 124 patients with recurrent MDD and, in an independent replication sample, on depressive symptomatology in 665 healthy individuals from the general population. In the discovery sample, Cox regression analysis revealed a significant interaction between MTHFR genotype and TCEs on MDD recurrence (P=0.017). Over the 5.5-year follow-up period, median time to recurrence was 191 days for T-allele carrying patients who experienced TCEs (T+ and TCE+); 461 days for T- and TCE+ patients; 773 days for T+ and TCE- patients and 866 days for T- and TCE- patients. In the replication sample, a significant interaction was present between the MTHFR genotype and TCEs on depressive symptomatology (P=0.002). Our results show that the effects of TCEs on the prospectively assessed recurrence of MDD and self-reported depressive symptoms in the general population depend on the MTHFR genotype. In conclusion, T-allele carriers may be at an increased risk for depressive symptoms or MDD recurrence after exposure to childhood trauma.
    Translational psychiatry. 07/2013; 3:e288.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Non-adherence to anti-psychotics is common, expensive and affects recovery. We therefore examine the cost-effectiveness of adherence therapy for people with schizophrenia by multi-centre randomised trial in Amsterdam, London, Leipzig and Verona. METHODS: Participants received 8 sessions of adherence therapy or health education. We measured lost productivity and use of health/social care, criminal justice system and informal care at baseline and one year to estimate and compare mean total costs from health/social care and societal perspectives. Outcomes were the Short Form 36 (SF-36) mental component score (MCS) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained (SF-36 and EuroQoL 5 dimension (EQ5D)). Cost-effectiveness was examined for all cost and outcome combinations using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (CEACs). RESULTS: 409 participants were recruited. There were no cost or outcome differences between adherence therapy and health education. The probability of adherence therapy being cost-effective compared to health education was between 0.3 and 0.6 for the six cost-outcome combinations at the willingness to pay thresholds we examined. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence therapy appears equivalent to health education. It is unclear whether it would have performed differently against a treatment as usual control, whether such an intervention can impact on quality of life in the short-term, or whether it is likely to be cost-effective in some sites but not others.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN: ISRCTN01816159.
    Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation 05/2013; 11(1):12. · 0.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Populations in Europe are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, and health risks differ between ethnic groups. The aim of the HELIUS (HEalthy LIfe in an Urban Setting) study is to unravel the mechanisms underlying the impact of ethnicity on communicable and non-communicable diseases.Methods/designHELIUS is a large-scale prospective cohort study being carried out in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The sample is made up of Amsterdam residents of Surinamese (with Afro-Caribbean Surinamese and South Asian-Surinamese as the main ethnic groups), Turkish, Moroccan, Ghanaian, and ethnic Dutch origin. HELIUS focuses on three disease categories: cardiovascular disease (including diabetes), mental health (depressive disorders and substance use disorders), and infectious diseases. The explanatory mechanisms being studied include genetic profile, culture, migration history, ethnic identity, socio-economic factors and discrimination. These might affect disease risks through specific risk factors including health-related behaviour and living and working conditions. Every five years, participants complete a standardized questionnaire and undergo a medical examination. Biological samples are obtained for diagnostic tests and storage. Participants' data are linked to morbidity and mortality registries. The aim is to recruit a minimum of 5,000 respondents per ethnic group, to a total of 30,000 participants. DISCUSSION: This paper describes the rationale, conceptual framework, and design and methods of the HELIUS study. HELIUS will contribute to an understanding of inequalities in health between ethnic groups and the mechanisms that link ethnicity to health in Europe.
    BMC Public Health 04/2013; 13(1):402. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. For people with schizophrenia, non-adherence to antipsychotic medications may result in high use of health and other services. The objective of our research was to examine the economic consequences of non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic medication. Methods. Data were taken from QUATRO, a randomized controlled trial that drew a sample of adults with schizophrenia receiving psychiatric services in four European cities: Amsterdam, Leipzig, London and Verona. Trial inclusion criteria were a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia, requiring on-going antipsychotic medication for at least 1-year following baseline assessment, and exhibiting evidence of clinical instability in the year prior to baseline. The patient-completed Medication Adherence Questionnaire (MAQ) was used to calculate the 5-point Morisky index of adherence. Generalized linear models (GLM) were developed to determine the effect of adherence on (i) health and social care and (ii) societal costs before and after treatment, taking into account other potential cost-influencing factors. Results. The effect of non-adherence on costs was mixed. For different groups of services, and according to treatment group assignment, non-adherence was both negatively and positively associated with costs. Conclusions. The impact of non-adherence on costs varies across the types of services used by individuals with schizophrenia.
    Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 04/2013; · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The changes in the organization of mental health care services have made the role of the family even more important in caring for patients with mental disorders. Caring may have serious consequences for family caregivers, with a great impact on the quality of family life. This study reports on the translation, cultural adaptation, and validation of the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire-European Union (IEQ-EU) into the Greek language. METHODS: Caregivers of patients with major mental disorders were interviewed to test a modified version of the IEQ-EU questionnaire. Psychometric measurements included reliability coefficients, exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory analysis by linear structural relations. To measure the concurrent validity we used the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). RESULTS: Most caregivers were female (83 %), mainly mothers living with the patient (80 %), with quite a high level of burden. The Greek version of the IEQ-EU (G-IEQ-EU) demonstrated a good reliability with high internal consistency (alpha = 0.88), Guttman split-half correlation of 0.71, high test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.82) and good concurrent validity with the NHP. A four-factor structure was confirmed for the G-IEQ-EU, slightly different from the original IEQ. The confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that the four-factor model offered modest fit to our data. CONCLUSIONS: The G-IEQ-EU is a reasonably valid and reliable tool for use in both clinical and research contexts in order to assess the burden of caregivers of patients with mental disorders.
    Annals of General Psychiatry 02/2013; 12(1):3. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: This study examines the accessibility of addiction treatment within services providing mental health care and support for people from socially marginalized groups in deprived urban areas across EU countries. Methods: Services providing mental health care and support in deprived areas of 14 EU capital cities were assessed with a questionnaire. We analysed the availability and accessibility of those services providing addiction treatment for people from six groups: the long-term unemployed, the homeless, street sex workers, asylum seekers and refugees, irregular migrants and people from travelling communities. Results: While 30% of all the assessed services provided addiction treatment, in 20% of services, addiction was a criterion for exclusion. Among services providing addiction treatment, 77% accepted self-referrals, 63% were open on weekends or in the evening, 60% did not charge any out-of-pocket fees, 35% provided access to interpreters, and 28% ran outreach activities. These results varied substantially among EU capitals. Conclusion: Access to addiction treatment for socially marginalized groups varies across Europe. Some of the models identified may constitute barriers to treatment. Developing care delivery models that facilitate access for vulnerable populations should be a priority for national and European policies.
    Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy 01/2013; 20(1). · 0.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mental health problems are disproportionately higher amongst homeless people. Many barriers exist for homeless people with mental health problems in accessing treatment yet little research has been done on service provision and quality of care for this group. The aim of this paper is to assess current service provision and identify barriers to care for homeless people with mental health problems in 14 European capital cities. Two methods of data collection were employed; (i) In two highly deprived areas in each of the 14 European capital cities, homeless-specific services providing mental health, social care or general health services were assessed. Data were obtained on service characteristics, staff and programmes provided. (ii) Semi-structured interviews were conducted in each area with experts in mental health care provision for homeless people in order to determine the barriers to care and ways to overcome them. Across the 14 capital cities, 111 homeless-specific services were assessed. Input from professionally qualified mental health staff was reported as low, as were levels of active outreach and case finding. Out-of-hours service provision appears inadequate and high levels of service exclusion criteria were evident. Prejudice in the services towards homeless people, a lack of co-ordination amongst services, and the difficulties homeless people face in obtaining health insurance were identified as major barriers to service provision. While there is variability in service provision across European capital cities, the reported barriers to service accessibility are common. Homeless-specific services are more responsive to the initial needs of homeless people with mental health problems, while generic services tend to be more conducive to long term care. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of different service delivery models, including the most effective coordination of homeless specific and generic services.
    BMC Health Services Research 07/2012; 12:222. · 1.66 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Psychiatry 07/2012; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Further cross-cultural comparisons are needed on caregiving consequences of chronic psychotic disorders. The EPSILON study (European Psychiatric Services: Inputs Linked to Outcome Domains and Needs) involved five European countries, but not Portugal. We aimed to analyse the impact of severe mental illness in a Portuguese sample and to provide support to comparisons with some of the EPSILON results, focusing on the north-European Dutch centre. METHODS: We studied 108 caregiver-patient dyads by a consecutive sampling of people with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders in psychiatric outpatient services. Relatives' assessments included the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire, European version (IEQ), the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12); the loss, stigma and positive aspects' subscales of the Experience of Caregiving Inventory, and the Social Network and Family Coping Questionnaires. Patients were assessed regarding symptoms, disability and global functioning. RESULTS: Caregiving rewards and negative consequences co-existed. On the IEQ, 49.1 % reported negative consequences and rank order of domain scores was worrying > urging > tension > supervision. More than one-third of caregivers were psychologically distressed according to GHQ screenings. Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire scores were correlated with caregivers' distress, stigma, loss, patient's involvement and other ways of coping, and patients' variables. Some of these failed to be included in a regression model. CONCLUSIONS: Many of these Portuguese caregivers were at risk regarding burden and psychological distress. In comparison with other European samples, caregiving arrangements and assessments were typical of Mediterranean countries, as Italy or Spain. All IEQ scores were significantly higher than those in the Netherlands. On account of small numbers, caution is needed in the interpretation of associations.
    Social Psychiatry 05/2012; · 2.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Irregular migrants (IMs) are exposed to a wide range of risk factors for developing mental health problems. However, little is known about whether and how they receive mental health care across European countries. The aims of this study were (1) to identify barriers to mental health care for IMs, and (2) to explore ways by which these barriers are overcome in practice. METHODS: Data from semi-structured interviews with 25 experts in the field of mental health care for IMs in the capital cities of 14 European countries were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Experts reported a range of barriers to mental health care for IMs. These include the absence of legal entitlements to health care in some countries or a lack of awareness of such entitlements, administrative obstacles, a shortage of culturally sensitive care, the complexity of the social needs of IMs, and their fear of being reported and deported. These barriers can be partly overcome by networks of committed professionals and supportive services. NGOs have become important initial points of contact for IMs, providing mental health care themselves or referring IMs to other suitable services. However, these services are often confronted with the ethical dilemma of either acting according to the legislation and institutional rules or providing care for humanitarian reasons, which involves the risk of acting illegally and providing care without authorisation. CONCLUSIONS: Even in countries where access to health care is legally possible for IMs, various other barriers remain. Some of these are common to all migrants, whilst others are specific for IMs. Attempts at improving mental health care for IMs should consider barriers beyond legal entitlement, including communicating information about entitlement to mental health care professionals and patients, providing culturally sensitive care and ensuring sufficient resources.
    BMC Public Health 05/2012; 12(1):367. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a highly recurrent disease. Stress-responsive system dysfunction seems to persist after remission. In patients with more chronic and recurrent depressive episodes, state related HPA-axis dysregulation might be a risk factor for prospective recurrence. This study examines the predictive effect of cortisol on consecutive episodes in remitted recurrently depressed patients. Cortisol was assessed in saliva in remitted recurrently depressed patients (n=55) that were followed up prospectively for 5.5 years after remission. Recurrence was assessed using a well validated structured interview. Lower mean morning cortisol levels predicted earlier time to recurrence over 5.5 year after correction for residual symptoms (p=0.015). Residual symptoms and childhood trauma slightly confounded the association between cortisol and recurrence. Lower cortisol levels were associated with having experienced traumatic childhood life events (42.3% in patients with lower cortisol versus 19.2% in patients with higher cortisol). Our study provides further support for the predictive role over 5.5 year of HPA axis dysregulation, i.e. lower morning cortisol levels, of recurrence in recurrently depressed patients. Childhood trauma is associated to having lower cortisol levels. It might have long term consequences for dealing with stress and the HPA-axis.
    Psychiatry research. 04/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Socially marginalised groups tend to have higher rates of mental disorders than the general population and can be difficult to engage in health care. Providing mental health care for these groups represents a particular challenge, and evidence on good practice is required. This study explored the experiences and views of experts in 14 European countries regarding mental health care for six socially marginalised groups: long-term unemployed; street sex workers; homeless; refugees/asylum seekers; irregular migrants and members of the travelling communities. Two highly deprived areas were selected in the capital cities of 14 countries, and experts were interviewed for each of the six marginalised groups. Semi-structured interviews with case vignettes were conducted to explore experiences of good practice and analysed using thematic analysis. In a total of 154 interviews, four components of good practice were identified across all six groups: a) establishing outreach programmes to identify and engage with individuals with mental disorders; b) facilitating access to services that provide different aspects of health care, including mental health care, and thus reducing the need for further referrals; c) strengthening the collaboration and co-ordination between different services; and d) disseminating information on services both to marginalised groups and to practitioners in the area. Experts across Europe hold similar views on what constitutes good practice in mental health care for marginalised groups. Care may be improved through better service organisation, coordination and information.
    BMC Public Health 03/2012; 12:248. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the achievements of previous research, caregiving assessments in severe mental illness should be crossculturally validated in order to define risk groups or to evaluate family work. This study reports on the psychometric properties of the European version of the Involvement Evaluation Questionnaire (IEQ-EU) in Portugal. A Portuguese translation of the IEQ-EU was developed according to the 'European Psychiatric Services: Inputs Linked to Outcome Domains and Needs' (EPSILON) group guidelines. We then studied 194 caregivers who were related to patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in psychiatric outpatient services. All relatives were assessed using the IEQ-EU. In order to describe the corresponding patients' sample, the majority (n = 162) was evaluated with the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHO-DAS II); 108 patients were also assessed with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). The factor structure of the Portuguese version of the questionnaire was similar to the original; internal consistency was good, with Cronbach's α ranging from 0.71 to 0.87 in the IEQ-EU scales (total score and domains: tension, supervision, worrying, urging); test-retest reliability yielded intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) from 0.80 to 0.94, concerning the same scores. Ecological validity was confirmed. Most caregiving consequences were reported on the worrying domain of the IEQ-EU. Validity and reliability of the Portuguese IEQ-EU translation were established. Specifically the four IEQ-EU subscale domains seem to be valid in Portugal.
    Annals of General Psychiatry 03/2012; 11:8. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Providing mental health care to socially marginalized groups is a challenge. There is limited evidence on what form of mental health-care generic (i.e. not targeting a specific social group) and group-specific services provide to socially marginalized groups in Europe. AIM: To describe the characteristics of services providing mental health care for people with mental disorders from socially marginalized groups in European capitals. METHODS: In two highly deprived areas in different European capital cities, services providing some form of mental health care for six marginalized groups, i.e. homeless, street sex workers, asylum seekers/refugees, irregular migrants, travelling communities and long-term unemployed, were identified and contacted. Data were obtained on service characteristics, staff and programmes. RESULTS: In 8 capital cities, 516 out of 575 identified services were assessed (90%); 297 services were generic (18-79 per city) and 219 group-specific (13-50). All cities had group-specific services for the homeless, street sex workers and asylum seekers/refugees. Generic services provided more health-care programmes. Group-specific services provided more outreach programmes and social care. There was a substantial overlap in the programmes provided by the two types of services. CONCLUSIONS: In deprived areas of European capitals, a considerable number of services provide mental health care to socially marginalized groups. Access to these services often remains difficult. Group-specific services have been widely established, but their role overlaps with that of generic services. More research and conceptual clarity on the function of group-specific services are required.
    The European Journal of Public Health 02/2012; · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate what patients themselves think they can contribute to recovery from depression, and what they find to be effective. The patients' perspective is necessary to improve treatment for depression. Qualitative, hypothesis-generating study. The experiences and opinions of 20 patients who had recently recovered from a depressive episode were investigated using the 'concept mapping' method. In the first stage, patients generated statements during group discussions around the question: 'What can people themselves do to recover from depression?' In the second stage, patients individually graded the statements by relevance and grouped them by common characteristics. In the third stage, the statements were analysed and positioned in a concept map. In the first stage, the patients generated 50 statements which could be grouped into the following 8 clusters: active attitude towards depression and the assistance offered, regimen, explanation of the disease to acquaintances, social contacts, undertaking activities, structured attention for yourself, contact with fellow sufferers, and others. The common factor in statements that patients found the most important was that the focus for recovery should be on oneself. From the patients' perspective several methods were mentioned by which patients can contribute to their own recovery from depression. Practitioners could use these in their contact with the patient during treatment. This study also provides the basis for developing a self-management module for recovery from depression.
    Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 01/2012; 156(19):A4337.

Publication Stats

3k Citations
387.13 Total Impact Points


  • 1993–2013
    • University of Amsterdam
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      • • Faculty of Medicine AMC
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2012
    • New University of Lisbon
      • Faculty of Medical Sciences
      Caparica, Distrito de Setubal, Portugal
    • University of Groningen
      • Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 1992–2012
    • Academisch Medisch Centrum Universiteit van Amsterdam
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2010–2011
    • Pro Persona
      Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2008–2010
    • The Netherlands Institute for Addiction Healthcare
      Arnheim, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2009
    • Pompestichting Forensische Psychiatrie
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
    • Altrecht GGZ
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2003–2009
    • University of Verona
      • Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
      Verona, Veneto, Italy
  • 2002–2007
    • King's College London
      • Institute of Psychiatry
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • Universität Ulm
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2000
    • University of Leipzig
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
    • Copenhagen University Hospital
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 1986–1990
    • Utrecht University
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands