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Racial/Ethnic Differences in Perceived Need for Mental Health Care
Monday, November 17, 2014
Racial/ethnic disparities in utilization of mental health (MH) services are prominent. Because of its influential role in initiating help-seeking behaviors, we examine racial/ethnic differences in perceived need for MH care and whether its determinants operate differently across race/ethnicity. Data are from the 2001–2003 Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys, a nationally representative household survey of non-institutionalized adults that assessed psychiatric disorders and services utilization. We evaluated conditional and race/ethnicity-stratified logistic regression models on non-Latino White, Asian, Latino, African American, and Afro-Caribbean participants meeting DSM-IV lifetime diagnostic criteria for any mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder (N=6,871), controlling for mental/physical health, sociocultural, and sociodemographic characteristics. The majority of persons with a current or previous mental illness do not perceive a need for MH care, and this is more pronounced among racial/ethnic minorities than non-Latino Whites. However, race/ethnicity interacts with education in the model (p<.05). Race/ethnicity-stratified models reveal that individuals with higher education have twice the odds than individuals with the lowest level of education to perceive a need for care, but this education trend is only statistically significant for African Americans (p<.001). For Asians and Latinos, foreign-born nativity (OR=0.36, p<.01) and English-language proficiency (OR=1.52, p<.05), respectively, play significant roles in perceived need. The study findings point to the importance of increasing MH education as a way to improve problem recognition, especially among African Americans. Moreover, special outreach to specific populations such as the elderly, immigrant Asians, and monolingual Spanish-speaking Latinos is necessary to improve utilization of MH services among persons who need care.
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences
Explain racial/ethnic variation in perceived need for mental health care
Keyword(s): Mental Health, Health Disparities/Inequities
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have developed several empirical papers that focus on understanding racial/ethnic disparities in mental health and mental health care, with a special emphasis on examining the sociocultural and mediating factors that influence mental health help-seeking behaviors. These projects have been presented at public health conferences such as the research meetings of the American Public Health Association and AcademyHealth. My research incorporates theories and methodologies from multiple disciplines including health services, psychology, sociology, economics and education.
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.