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There is strong evidence that the rates of psychiatric admission for psychosis in the UK are elevated for the Black adult population compared with the White population. Black adults also have a higher rate of involuntary psychiatric admissions. There have been no studies in this country investigating links between ethnic background and psychiatric admission in the adolescent population.To investigate whether Black compared with White adolescents from London are overrepresented in psychiatric in-patient settings and whether they are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.Cross-sectional survey of London adolescents aged 13-17 years, who were in-patients in psychiatric units.Adolescents from the Black group (Black African, Black Caribbean, Black British) were overrepresented among those admitted with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder when compared with adolescents from the White group (White British, White Irish, White Other): odds ratio=3.7, 95% CI 2.0-6.7. They were also more likely to be detained on admission and more likely to be born outside the UK and have refugee background.The possible impact of various background factors influencing admission is discussed.The study was funded by a grant from The Health Foundation.