BACKGROUND: The present study was conducted to compare the influence of culture and immediate environment on the phenomenology of schizophrenic symptoms by examining the actual content of delusions and hallucinations in three groups of schizophrenic patients. METHOD: Pakistanis living in Britain (BP; N = 53), Pakistanis in Pakistan (PP; N = 98) and British White (BW; N = 50). The content of the patients' delusions and hallucinations was obtained from medical records and key-workers' reports from All-Saints Hospital, Birmingham and two psychiatric units in Lahore. All references to delusions and hallucinations were coded in accordance with the classification scheme developed for the Present State Examination (Wing et al., 1974). RESULTS: Comparisons indicated greater differences in phenomenology of delusions and hallucinations between the Pakistani pair (BP vs. PP) than between the British groups (BP vs. BW). The findings suggested a stronger influence of the immediate environment on the pathogenesis of delusions and hallucinations. CONCLUSIONS: The results are discussed with reference to the cultural and religious values of the ethnic groups.