Rurality, gender, and mental health treatment.
Mental health problems are common and costly, yet many individuals with these problems either do not receive care or receive care that is inadequate. Gender and place of residence contribute to disparities in the use of mental health services. The objective of this study was to identify the influence of gender and rurality on mental health services utilization by using more sensitive indices of rurality. Pooled data from 4 panels of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (1996-2000) yielded a sample of 32,219 respondents aged 18 through 64. Variables were stratified by residence using rural-urban continuum codes. We used logistic and linear regression to model effects of gender and rurality on treatment rates. We found that rural women are less likely to receive mental health treatment either through the general healthcare system or through specialty mental health systems when compared to women in metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) or urbanized non-MSA areas. Rural men receive less mental health treatment than do rural women and less specialty mental health treatment than do men in MSAs or least rural non-MSA areas. Reported mental health deteriorates as the level of rurality increases. There is a considerable unmet need for mental health services in most rural areas. The general health sector does not seem to contribute remarkably to mental health services for women in these areas.
Hauenstein, EJ; Petterson, S; Merwin, E; Rovnyak, V; Heise, B; Wagner, D
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