259014 Understanding Racial Disparities in Utilization of Care

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Alexander Chaitoff , The College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Thomas Wickizer, PhD , Division of Health Services Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
While racial discrimination has been gaining attention in public health research, little work has been done comparing the effects of how often one thinks of his or her race and the impact it can have on seeing a health care professional when that individual suffers from symptoms of poor mental health. Using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, this study explored the relationship between how often an individual thought about his or her race, frequency of symptoms of poor mental health, and use of health services in the USA. Data were extracted from the BRFSS 2004 data set, including 23,292 respondents across five states providing data on how often they thought about their race, their mental health, and how often they went to a doctor. Taking into account variables such as income and insurance coverage, a racially stratified analysis showed no correlation for how often White individuals thought about their race and the frequency of health care use regardless of frequency of poor mental health in a month. However, Black individuals showed a borderline significant correlation between how often they thought of their race and their use of the health care when having fewer than seven poor mental health days per month and a significant correlation when having more than seven poor mental health days per month (p<.05). These findings indicate that the psychology of those with poor mental health symptoms, specifically how often race is on their mind, must be understood to provide access to mental health assistance.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the effect of how often one thinks about his or her race on his or her utilization of any form of care when showing signs of poor mental health 2. Differentiate the magnitude of these effects among different races

Keywords: Mental Health Care, Barriers to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have acted as the principle investigator and presented studies at major international and national conferences concerning various clinical topics. Furthermore, I have academic and research training in the field of disparities, have conducted research in the area, and my interests lie in understanding social and psychological aspects of health disparities. Currently, I work under Dr. Tom Wickizer, who has been actively engaged in health services research for over 20 year.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.