Ecological Psychiatry

Ecological Psychiatry

Socio-environmental factors interacting with brain mechanisms play a critical role in the development of psychotic disorders. Prolonged exposure to these social-psychological adversities may lead to hyper-sensitization of dopamine neurotransmission and increased risk for psychosis. Paradigms to investigate Gene and Environment interactions in the aetiology and outcome represents a potentially fruitful approach in schizophrenia research. We used population-based surveys and experience sampling method to study factors related to psychotic disorders as well as psychotic like symptoms. Detailed cognitive psychopathological and brain system studies will complement explorations of the brain mechanisms underlying these environmental risks.

Current/Developing projects:
  • A population-based study of Psychosis and Psychotic-like symptoms
    Part of the territory-wide epidemiological study in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of psychotic disorders and sub-clinical psychotic symptoms in 5700 representative subjects in Hong Kong.

  • Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) in the general population of Hong Kong: a prospective follow up study
    A 2-year prospective study of evolution of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) associated environmental risk factors and neurocognitive functions, to verify the psychosis proneness-persistent-impairment model of psychosis.

  • Migration and psychosis
    To systematically investigate the effects of immigration on risk for psychosis in Hong Kong and to examine whether the immigration effect is related to economic deprivation, social isolation, urban-rural residence transition, chronic exposure to social adversities.

  • Gene and environment interactions in determining cause and outcome of psychotic disorde
    Gene and environment interactions in psychosis will be explored. Experience sampling methodology, a refined ecological investigative approach, will also be applied to capture everyday real-life environmental influences.
Prof. Eric YH Chen (Lead)
Dr. WC Chang
Dr. Sherry KW Chan
Dr. Eric HM Lee
Dr. Christy LM Hui
Dr. Simon SY Lui
Dr. KT Chan
Prof. Michael TH Wong
Dr. YN Suen