Racial disparities in the administration of ECT in Texas, 1998-2013

Paul A. Dennis, Shaun N. Thomas, Mustafa M. Husain, Nora M. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a treatment of choice for severe depression but has been underutilized among black patients. This study investigates racial disparities in the administration of ECT in the state of Texas between 1998 and 2013 using population data. Design Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services were obtained corresponding to the use for all ECT conducted in nonfederal settings during the period from January 2, 1998, to August 30, 2013. The data set comprised quarterly reports generated for each patient, totaling 27,931 patient quarters. Using year-by-year intercensal population estimates for the state of Texas, ECT treatments per capita were compared among black, white, Latina/Latino, and other individuals during this time period. Results Significantly more white patients were treated each quarter than minority patients (P < 0.001), with Latina/Latino patients recording fewer treatment quarters than any other racial group (P < 0.005). Large discrepancies in diagnosis by race were observed. Black patients were less likely than white and Latina/Latino patients to be diagnosed with depression and 4 times as likely as white patients to carry a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Conclusions Concordant with previous data, large racial disparities in the administration of ECT were found in this Texas data set. Despite the limited nature of this data set, these results suggest that continued investigation is required to determine factors responsible for these disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-105
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Texas
  • depression
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • ethnicity
  • race
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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