The Role of Physical Health Functioning, Mental Health, and Sociodemographic Factors in Determining the Intensity of Mental Health Care Use Among Primary Care Medical Patients

Brenda M.Lindsay Nour, Jon D. Elhai, Julian D. Ford, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined sociodemographic and attitudinal predisposing factors (gender, age, marital status, health insurance, household income, attitudes about mental health care), and need/illness variables (depression severity, physical and mental health functional status) as predictors of past-year mental health care use intensity (i.e., visit counts) and use/nonuse. The sample included 283 adult primary care patients from the Midwestern United States in a cross-sectional study. Nonlinear regression models demonstrated that past-year treatment use intensity was significantly associated with both married status and poorer physical health functioning, while the use (vs. nonuse) of treatment was associated with depression severity. A sociodemographic and attitudinal multivariate predictor model only explained 5% of the variance in treatment use intensity, but a need/illness model significantly contributed an additional 23% variance. Poorer physical health functioning was significant in predicting treatment use intensity, while depression severity was significant in predicting the use (vs. nonuse) of treatment. Results demonstrate the particular importance of physical health problems in determining the intensity of mental health care use, and depression severity in determining the use/nonuse of treatment, notwithstanding the restricted sociodemographic contour of the sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Services
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • behavioral model of health care use
  • functional impairment
  • health disparities
  • mental health service use
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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